A professor at Montana State University has filed a lawsuit against the local Walmart because an employee allegedly typed “CLEAN TOILETS” — apparently in all-capital letters — as the professor’s job on his fishing license.
The professor is Gilbert Kalonde, reports Bozeman CBS affiliate KBZK.
Kalonde’s troubles began back in April 2015 when he purchased the license, according to court documents.
He provided an employee at the Walmart in Bozeman with an identification card specifying his occupation as “Faculty/Professional” at Montana State, he says.
The Walmart employee then typed “CLEAN TOILETS” in the space on Kalonde’s fishing license application for his occupation.
The Walmart employee did not give Kalonde an opportunity to review the application, court documents say.
When Kalonde renewed his fishing license in 2016, the lawsuit says, he told a Walmart employee that he is a Montana State professor. No one asked him to review his information or told him about the error on his license.
Then, in February 2016, Kalonde’s teaching assistant happened to be looking at Kalonde’s fishing license and noticed that it said his job is “CLEAN TOILETS.”
Kalonde was shocked and shamed, the lawsuit says. He claims he suffered emotional distress because, in his native country of Zambia, “the people that do this work are the lowest social class, and are shunned and avoided by society.”
He immediately returned to the Bozeman Walmart and demanded a new, corrected fishing license and a written apology. He received the new license, according to the lawsuit, but not the written apology.
The Montana branch of the American Civil Liberties Union is representing Kalonde in his lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims a single count of libel.
Kalonde teaches undergraduate courses in workforce education and development at Montana State University.
He has a Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He also has over two decades of experience teaching in high schools, and in human resources management.
Walmart’s corporate office offered a limited statement about the lawsuit.
“To our knowledge an administrative process to resolve this with Dr. Kalonde is ongoing,” Walmart media relations director Ragan Dickens told KBZK-TV. “We’ve not been served with the lawsuit, but we take the claims seriously and will respond appropriately with the court.”