Tri Huynh, a former director of business development at Walmart, claims he was terminated “under false pretenses” after repeatedly raising concerns about the company’s “overly aggressive push to show meteoric growth in its e-commerce business by any means possible — even, illegitimate ones.”
Under Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon, Walmart has invested billions to catch up with Amazon in e-commerce over the past few years, and last year enjoyed quarterly online sales growth rates surpassing 50 percent, well above peers that include Target Corp. and Best Buy Co.
Huynh claims Walmart mislabeled products so that some third-party vendors received lower commissions, failed to process customer returns, and allowed offensive items onto the site. Huynh’s dismissal in January 2017 — just a day after a retail-industry publication singled him out as one of the sector’s rising stars — was in retaliation for warning senior executives about the misdeeds, he said in the lawsuit, filed last week by employment litigation attorney David M. deRubertis in San Francisco federal court.
“Walmart sacrificed and betrayed its founder’s key principles of integrity and honesty, pushing those core values aside in its rush to win the e-commerce war at all costs,” the 70-page complaint says, referring to founder Sam Walton. “In doing this, it realized it must silence any whistle-blower who spoke up against its ‘win at all costs’ approach.”
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