NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. broadened the definition of "immediate family members" to include domestic partners in an updated statement of ethics.
The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer disclosed the statement in an SEC filing Wednesday.
The expanded definition, included in the "Conflicts of Interest" and "Relations with Suppliers" sections of the ethics code, specifically bars employees from using any confidential information for the benefit of immediate family members and from approaching a supplier about providing employment for immediate family members.
According to Wal-Mart's (Research) ethics code, "Immediate family members include (whether by birth, adoption, marriage or Domestic Partnership or Civil Union, if recognized by your state or other local law) your spouse, children, parents, siblings, mothers- and fathers-in-law, sons- and daughters-in-law and brothers- and sisters-in-law."
The policy revision will apply to "same sex marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships in geographical areas that where those relationships are officially recognized," Dan Fogelman, spokesperson for Wal-Mart, told CNN/Money.
Gay- and lesbian-rights groups praised Wal-Mart, the country's largest private employer, for expanding its definition of "immediate family," according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.