The Home Depot is defending its policy to limit its sales to the federal government -- while saying the policy could change in the future.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in its Sunday edition that the nation's largest hardware and home-improvement chain told its 1,400 stores not to do business with the U.S. government or its representatives.
The newspaper checked with managers at 38 Home Depot stores in 11 states. All but two said they had received instructions this month from Home Depot's corporate headquarters in Atlanta not to take government credit cards, purchase orders or even cash if the items are being used by the federal government.
A company document obtained by the paper said the company is trying to avoid being covered by three federal laws and an executive order related to employee discrimination and affirmative action compliance.
The company's executive vice president and general counsel, Frank Fernandez, said in a statement released Sunday night the intent was to "restate our existing policy for our stores and associates." He said the company has never been a federally approved contractor.
In the statement, the company also said it will continue to monitor the situation and could decide to change its policy at some point in the future.