|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
The investigator flew to Guatemala in April 2002 with a delicate mission: trail a Wal-Mart manager around the country to prove he was sleeping with a lower-level employee, a violation of company policy.
The apparent smoking gun? “Moans and sighs” heard as the investigator, a Wal-Mart employee, pressed his ear against a hotel room door inside a Holiday Inn, according to legal documents. Soon after, the company fired the manager for what it said was improper fraternization with a subordinate.
Wal-Mart, renowned to outsiders for its elbows-out business tactics, is known internally for its bare-knuckled no-expense-spared investigations of employees who break its ironclad ethics rules.
Over the last five years, Wal-Mart has assembled a team of former officials from the C.I.A., F.B.I. and Justice Department whose elaborate, at times globetrotting, investigations have led to the ouster of a high-profile board member who used company funds to buy hunting equipment, two senior advertising executives who took expensive gifts from a potential supplier and a computer technician who taped a reporter’s telephone calls.
The investigators — whose résumés evoke Langley, Va., more than Bentonville, Ark. — serve as a rapid-response team that aggressively polices the nation’s largest private employer, enforcing Wal-Mart’s modest by-the-books culture among its army of 1.8 million employees.