Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

B.C. man files lawsuit against Walmart over alleged discriminatory name-calling and item search

Plaintiff claims Walmart employee told him, 'We keep an eye on your type, Iranian immigrant, old man thief.'
The suit alleges that plaintiff went through a Walmart self-checkout and paid for his items before he was stopped by an employee. | Chung Chow, BIV

An alleged upsetting incident at the local Walmart has led a Penticton man to file a lawsuit against the company, claiming he was embarrassed and called racist and discriminatory names at their store.

Basil Wanit alleges in the suit filed this week that during the last week of May, 2021, he came into the Walmart located at 275 Green Avenue West to shop for a few camping items, including a cooler.

The suit alleges that Wanit went through the self-checkout and paid for his items before he was stopped by an employee. The employee then grabbed the cooler and announced that she had to search for shoplifting items that may be hidden.

The suit claims Wanit was embarrassed by this and that the employee found nothing in the cooler.

After walking away with his items from the area, Wanit claims another employee who had seen that he was stopped inside the self check out area said to him, "We keep an eye on your type, Iranian immigrant, old man thief."

The civil claim alleges that since Wanit felt he should document the encounter, but did not have anything to do so, he left and came back later that day with a camera and voice recorder.

When returning to Walmart, came to find the employee who searched through his cooler earlier and started talking to her. At this point, the employee called the store supervisor to come out to join them.

Wanit claims that the supervisor was "evasive and rude" and that they were going to call the store manager.

"Because of what happened to me in the store and the bizarre and wrong treatment that I received, the situation was going from bad to worse, so at that point, I justifiably lost confidence to get any reasonable and fair outcome. Therefore I did not want to talk to the store's manager, so I left the store," the claim reads.

Wanit claims that he still feels deeply injured even after nearly two years after the incident and a doctor has told him he is suffering from PTSD.

He claimed he has also filed a complaint concerning this matter to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal in April 2022.

Wanit is seeking general, aggravated and punitive/exemplary damages and other reliefs, for a total sum of over $18,114.86

None of the allegations contained in the lawsuit have yet been proven in court.

Castanet reached out to Walmart for comment, but did not receive a reply before publication time.