ATLANTA, Dec. 20 /PRNewswire/ — In response to the filing of a class action lawsuit in San Francisco today alleging employment discrimination against women, The Home Depot (NYSE: HD) reiterated its long-standing corporate policy against discrimination of all kinds. In light of that policy, the company is taking today’s accusations very seriously and is conducting an internal investigation with the help of outside counsel.

The company, named earlier this year by Fortune magazine as America’s second most-admired corporation and most-admired retailer, has been widely acknowledged for many years for its progressive employee- oriented corporate culture which celebrates individuality, diversity and tolerance in terms of age, gender, race, ethnicity, disability and sexual preference.

In an industry that has been traditionally male-dominated, The Home Depot has been credited with providing unprecedented career opportunities for women as well as minorities in building and home improvement products retailing.

In fact, in 1992 the YWCA of Greater Atlanta presented The Home Depot with its Prowess Award, which recognizes “metropolitan Atlanta companies and business that have implemented programs and practices which empower women to participate more equally in the work place. Companies are nominated and selected on the basis of a clearly demonstrated commitment to assist the entry, career advancement and/or improvement of working conditions for women.” The company has also been recognized by the American Association for Retired Persons for its exemplary efforts to advance the cause of older workers.

The following programs are a few examples of the company’s long- standing commitment to diversity in all its forms:

The company in 1990 began its Diversity Management Program which was designed to ensure that all company associates are provided equal opportunities in employment. All company managers — from senior officers to department supervisors participated in this program.

In 1993, the company began its Respect Program to ensure that all employees are empowered to reach their highest potential. The program deals with harassment and sexual harassment in particular. The entire work force has attended workshops and participates in other forms of ongoing training as part of the company’s effort to sustain its progressive corporate culture and strengthen its commitment to equal opportunity for all.

The Associate Manager Training program was begun in 1990 with the goal of providing women and minorities who are college graduates with a fast track to Assistant Store Manager positions.

In addition, other employee education programs address training needs in the areas of product/project knowledge, as well as operations and supervisory skills to enhance promotability.

Initial results of these ongoing programs have been encouraging. In 1992, there were nine women store managers; now there are 20. Similarly there were 101 women assistant store managers; now there are 210. In 1992, there were no female district managers; now there are two. One women is a member of the company’s 10-person board of directors and is there is one woman officer as well.

The company has also made plans to launch another diversity initiative in 1995 to sustain and strengthen the gains made since such efforts were begun in 1990, ensuring that all qualified women and minority employees have the support they need to reach their career potential with The Home Depot.

Atlanta-based Home Depot currently operates 325 full-service warehouse-style stores in the United States and Canada. The stores sell approximately 40,000 to 50,000 different kinds of building materials, home improvement products and lawn and garden supplies which are sold primarily to do-it-yourselfers but also to home improvement, construction and building maintenance professionals.

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/CONTACT: Lonnie Fogel, Director – Public Relations, The Home Depot, 404-431-2666 or, home, 404-875-7316/


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