NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT.N) employee fired this week for allegedly intercepting and recording messages from a New York Times reporter and others said he felt pressured to uncover who at the retail giant was leaking embarrassing information to outsiders, The Wall Street Journal reported.
After a flurry of articles about Wal-Mart’s employment and benefit practices in The New York Times newspaper and elsewhere, Bruce Gabbard said in the Journal that he took it upon himself to find out if any of the newspaper’s information was coming from internal sources.
“Our job was to plug any information hole,” Gabbard, a systems technician, said in the Journal. “That was the primary reason for our team to be there.”
Gabbard and his supervisor were dismissed earlier this week after the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas told the retailer he was looking into possible violations of federal law.
A representative from Wal-Mart said the company was not releasing any more comments on the situation at this time but the retailer stood by its March 5 statements.
“The company believes that these pager intercepts and the recordings of these telephone calls were wrong and has taken a number of actions to further strengthen our policies and controls,” Mona Williams, Wal-Mart vice president of corporate communications, said in a release on Monday when Gabbard’s employment was terminated.