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Wal-Mart apologizes for labeling professor toilet cleaner

January 15, 2018

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A Wal-Mart manager has apologized to a Montana State University professor who said an employee at the store listed his occupation on a fishing license as a toilet cleaner.

The apology came as part of a settlement involving a discrimination complaint that Gilbert Kalonde filed with the Montana Human Rights Bureau after an employee wrote “clean toilets” on the fishing license the professor bought in 2015, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported Monday. Other terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Jeremy Huckleberry, manager of the Bozeman Wal-Mart, wrote that the “unfortunate incident” was “unacceptable.”

“We value and respect all of our customers, and we will continue to undertake measures to help safeguard against this type of incident in the future,” he wrote.

Kalonde, who was born in Zambia, Africa, is an assistant professor of technology education at MSU, where he has worked since 2014. He also filed a separate lawsuit in Gallatin County District Court that was later dismissed.

The professor said he showed the worker proof of employment, but he was instead labeled as a toilet cleaner on the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks fishing license. The false information remained on the license when Kalonde renewed it the following year.

Kalonde said he demanded a written apology from Wal-Mart but was not given one at the time.

“Gilbert Kalonde stood up to a giant corporation to show that Montanans who experience discrimination based on race, national origin or any other protected class have recourse and that such discrimination is absolutely illegal,” said Caitlin Borgmann, executive director of The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the professor.

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Information from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com

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