In the wake of Parkland, Walmart joined Dick’s Sporting Goods in refusing to sell long guns to anyone under the age of 21, regardless of the law on the matter. It was a much-criticized decision at the time. However, it was also likely to make the retail giant a target for lawsuits as the policy is as clear a case of age discrimination as you’re likely to see anytime soon.
An Oregon teen decided to challenge the policy. She went to purchase a rifle and was promptly denied. That sparked the move we all knew was coming.
Now, the girl and her family are speaking out about what they’re asking for and what Walmart thinks is appropriate.
An Oregon teenager who filed a discrimination complaint with the Bureau of Labor and Industries after Walmart refused to sell her a rifle asked for $135,000 in a settlement—the same amount an Oregon baker was fined after refusing to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple.
Hannah Brumbles, an 18-year-old Deer Island woman, filed a civil rights complaint with BOLI in April. BOLI investigators found that Walmart had violated state nondiscrimination laws and filed formal charges against the company on Aug. 21.
Her father says he wanted the same fine that was levied against a Gresham bakery that refused to sell a wedding cake to a lesbian couple.
“Discrimination is discrimination,” says Chris Brumbles, Hannah’s father.
But Walmart’s representatives laughed at the $135,000 proposal, he says. They allegedly offered Hannah Brumbles $150 and asked her to sign a “gag order.”
“It was a joke, it was kind of a spit in the face to her,” he says. “It’s not about money but I would like Walmart to feel a little sting, like I would if I broke the law.”
The Brumbles are unlikely to get the size of settlement they sought—but the fine could still be significant. An administrative law judge will review BOLI’s findings before determining damages in the case, but the state agency has suggested a $5,000 penalty. Walmart can appeal the judge’s decision in court.
I get where the Brumbles are coming from with the $135,000 amount. Even if they don’t get it–and they should since it’s still a case of discrimination–it’s poetic as hell to ask for it. Frankly, I think it’s justified, and if they don’t get it, they should consider suing the state for discrimination. After all, BOLI is saying at that point that some animals are more equal than others. Equal protection under the law exists in all cases, not just one with certain political flavors.
I also agree with Chris Brumbles about the counteroffer. Walmart’s offer was a slap in the face if ever I’ve seen one. They discriminate against Hannah, and they offer $150 in compensation and demand she signs something so she can’t talk about the illegal treatment she received from one of the largest companies in the nation?
Sure. That sounds fair.
Frankly, a $5,000 fine for Walmart is nothing. It needs to be noticeable for a company their size, and a mere $5,000 isn’t going to do it. Which, of course, is part of why an offer of $150 is such an insult. They could have made a real offer and never have felt it on their bottom line, but they didn’t.
No, they need to hurt over this policy. Frankly, we need a legion of people in every state possible going out to challenge this policy until it forced Walmart to rethink their virtue signaling.
In the meantime, I hope Hannah Brumbles gets some actual justice.