However, when the plaintiff says that when she went to purchase the items in-store, she paid $12.54 for the Huggies Wipes, and $31.84 for theRead More
Investigative Reporter: Christopher King [email protected]
Please be advised that If anyone know of a good Attorney we are looking for one!!! To rep the interests of Daryll and Lisa Triplett and their company, Hair 911, Inc., who were the targets of an unlawful campaign of horrendous race discrimination and retaliation at the hands of Walmart management and employees.
We are placing Walmart on notice that we intend to pursue a claim against Walmart
for this conduct. Please allow this letter to serve as formal notification of this claim.
The Tripletts, who are African-American, and their company, Hair 911, Inc. have been
the victims of a targeted campaign of racially motivated harassment (including racially
humiliating and threatening text messages) and a pattern of discrimination that has destroyed
their business with Walmart. This conduct by Walmart employees is the byproduct of a system
the discriminates insidiously against minority businesses and treats these businesses and their
products as second-class. In addition to destroying their business, the racially harassing and
threatening conduct of Walmart’s employees has caused the Tripletts severe anxiety and fright,
and has taken a huge emotional toll on these hard-working African-American entrepreneurs.
Walmart’s response was to brush the threatening conduct under the rug, and, shortly thereafter,
to retaliate against the Tripletts by not only terminating the Hair 911 relationship, but also to
terminate, without warning, the relationship with the Tripletts’ other business, the Lisa T
Put another way, Walmart’s systemic treatment of minority-owned business effectively
put the Tripletts in the back of the Walmart bus, and the racially threatening text messages by
Walmart employees effectively burned a cross in front of their house. On behalf of the Tripletts,
we are prepared to present both direct and circumstantial evidence that the conduct of Wal-Mart
and its employees was and is in blatant violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and Georgia state law.
Walmart’s failure to right these wrongs has left the Tripletts with no other option but to seek
B. THE POWDER KEG: THREATENING TEXT MESSAGES
On November 27, 2018, Daryll Triplett was the recipient of racially humiliating, horrifying,
and threatening texts in a chain with Walmart Store 301 employee Joni Owen. The text of these
messages is as follows:
7:59 PM Group Text Message between Joni Owen, Daryll Triplett, and unknown person:
– So is this one of the fat ass niggers your fucking Joni? I’m not gonna waste my breath…… You
can fill him nigger lover. I won’t say another word to this fuck I’ll bring you a momento from his
8:06 PM Text Message from Daryll:
– Who is this?
Understandably, Mr. Triplett immediately brought this issue to the attention of Walmart CEO
Doug McMillon and attached the text messages. Mr. Triplett received no response.
Then on November 29, 2018, within 30 minutes of reaching out to Ms. Owen, Mr. Triplett
again received a string of racially threatening and harassing texts, as follows:
11:31 AM Text from Unknown Number (938-223-0616)
– Nigger I will be to see you black ass ….. Im telling you know motherfucker you will go with me
…. You will not have a choice
– Your fuxking aas has stepped in a world of mess motherfuker
– You call or text this nigger love bitch I will break yojr mother fucking neck bitch
– You and any motherfucker you can find tk go with you
– Dick sucker……
Mr. Triplett again brought this to the attention of Mr. McMillon and also to Walmart Global
Investigations. Despite asking many times for details about the investigation, Mr. Triplett never
received a response other than, on January 7, 2019, an email stating, “We worked with the business
to resolve these concerns internally and have closed this matter.”
C. MEET THE TRIPLETTS
By way of context, it’s helpful for Walmart to understand who the Tripletts are and what
an amazing impression they will make upon a jury. Daryll Triplett is a former Columbus, Ohio
police officer with 25 years of experience. He is a big-hearted, gregarious guy who also is a
standup comic (“Officer Keep it Real”). Lisa Triplett is a soft-spoken, beautiful woman with
ingenuity, persistence, and an entrepreneurial spirit.
Daryll and Lisa formed Hair 911 to fill a niche: luxury-quality genuine human hair
extensions that also were affordable. Although Lisa’s face was on the packaging, the product
was marketed to woman of all races. The Tripletts and Hair 911 began doing business with
Walmart in early 2017 as a vendor. Hair 911 began growing: making sales, expanding into 80+
Walmart stores, and getting great reviews. The Tripletts’ other Walmart vendor business, the
Lisa T Collection, marketed upscale fashion women’s clothing and shoes. The Lisa T Collection
was available via Walmart online.
In a nutshell, the Tripletts are an American success story. A hard-working African-
American couple with the creativity to find niche markets and with the drive to actually create
products to sell in those niche markets. And they relied on Walmart to perform as a true partner
in the business relationship. You would be hard-pressed to find clients who would make a more
favorable impact on a jury.
D. CRACKS IN THE WALMART FAÇADE
From the beginning of the business relationship with Walmart, the Tripletts were exposed
to a racially discriminatory system and conduct. In late 2016, Mr. Triplett traveled to Walmart
headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas to pitch the Hair 911 company and product. The initial
buyer with whom the Tripletts met, a white female, rushed the meeting and eventually shunted
them to the “multi-cultural hair care department.” This was so despite the Tripletts representing
that Hair 911 was not just an “African-American Product,” but a product for all women. Another
Walmart buyer, an African-American female, stated that Walmart never would approve an
“ethnic hairline” for a modularization rollout. The Tripletts again responded that the Hair 911
product was not a “multi-cultural hair care product,” but a product for all women. This buyer
then suggested that the Tripletts, a small minority business, travel to individual Walmart stores
and pitch their product to individual store managers.
Undeterred, the Tripletts began to do just that, and eventually began selling Hair 911
products in over 80 Walmart stores. Critically, they removed Ms. Triplett’s face from the
packaging so that their products would “pass” for Walmart.
During the early stage of the vendor process, the Hair 911 buyer was moved to a different
department and not replaced. This is critical, as a vendor’s most important contact with
Walmart, and all the Walmart processes and procedures, is the buyer. The buyer gives guidance
on all aspects of the vendor relationship with Walmart, especially invoicing.
Walmart’s removal of Hair 911’s buyer effectively left the Tripletts to deal with
individual stores, and all the attendant logistics and invoicing, as best they could, and while they
were trying to grow their business by visiting different stores to pitch the Hair 911 product.
Although the Tripletts tried their best, with no buyer, to comply with Walmart’s individual store
vendor system, Walmart claimed that the Tripletts made various invoicing errors. In other
words, removal of their buyer left the Tripletts hung out to dry, with inevitable mistakes.
E. THE TEXT MESSAGES AND FALLOUT
In the fall of 2018, while the Tripletts were attempting, without a buyer, to resolve and
fix all the billing and invoicing issues with Walmart, all while trying to grow their business in
more stores, Mr. Triplett received the racially humiliating and threatening text messages. The
timing of the following conduct by Walmart is critical in understanding the Triplett’s claims.
On November 27 and 29, 2018, Mr. Triplett received the threatening text messages and
reported them to Walmart. Walmart allegedly performs its own investigation while also
pursuing the invoicing issue with the Tripletts. On January 7, 2019, after much prodding by Mr.
Triplett, Walmart finally responds that it has “worked with the business to resolve these concerns
internally and [has] closed this matter.” Walmart refused to answer Mr. Triplett’s reasonable
requests about whether Walmart had determined if the threats to him were credible and
continued to pursue the alleged improper invoicing issue. Then, out of the blue, on January 17,
2019, Walmart sends a letter offering to “wipe out” the purported over $500,000 that Wal-Mart
claimed it was owed in exchange for a full release and termination of the Hair 911/Wal-Mart
business relationship. The Tripletts refused to execute this release. Then, in March and/or April
2019, Walmart without announcement or warning removed all Lisa T Collection products
from its online store.
F. LIABILITY AND DAMAGES
What Wal-Mart has done to the Tripletts is the culmination of a pattern and practice of
overt and covert discrimination against minority-owned vendors like the Tripletts. Wal-Mart’s
termination of the Hair 911 and Lisa T Collection vendor relationships shortly after Mr. Triplett
complained of the racially abusive emails is clear retaliation against the Tripletts for alerting
Wal-Mart of the racial abuse and harassment that the Tripletts were forced to endure. This
conduct by Walmart constitutes a clear case of race discrimination and retaliation, in violation of
42 U.S.C. § 1981 and Georgia law. Unfortunately for Wal-Mart, this only is the latest in a string
of racially discriminatory behavior and business practices, including discrimination in how it
sells and markets what it deems to be African-American beauty products. (see, e.g.,
Basically, Walmart accused the Tripletts of double invoicing. The Tripletts contend that they received
many instances of their merchandise having not been received by the individual stores, but the Tripletts had proof of delivery, and that Walmart Retail Link instructed them to resubmit their invoices.
Exposure to Walmart’s discriminatory environment and behavior has ruined the Tripletts
financially and emotionally. They have lost their businesses (over $800,000 in actual damages)
and their home (an additional $320,000 in rent owed). Further, the Tripletts have been forced to
endure not just the emotional stress and harm of being the targets of racially abusive text
messages by Walmart employees, but also the fear of not knowing if the threats were credible.
Walmart worsened these fears by refusing to tell the Tripletts the answer even to that simple
This is a dangerous case: it will survive a summary judgment motion and will proceed to
a jury. As stated above, the Tripletts are upstanding entrepreneurs who will make a positive
impression on a jury regardless of venue. Their businesses have been ruined by Walmart’s
discriminatory conduct and its retaliation
From the time she got her job at Pace Membership Warehouse in Roseville, Calif., in 1993, Claudia Renati was determined to advance. Her husband hadRead More
Acknowledgments Carol Pier, senior labor rights and trade researcher for the Business and Human Rights Program of Human Rights Watch, researched and wrote this report.TheRead More