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Walmart loses EEOC incapacity lawsuit that alleged discrimination towards a longtime worker with Down syndrome

Consumers stroll in entrance of a Walmart retailer in San Leandro, California, U.S., on Thursday, Could 13, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Photos

A jury dominated that Walmart should pay greater than $125 million in damages in a incapacity discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Alternative Fee, the federal company mentioned on Friday.

The lawsuit alleged that the retailer violated the People with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination based mostly on an individual’s incapacity. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Marlo Spaeth, a 16-year Walmart worker who has Down syndrome.

Within the lawsuit, the federal company mentioned the retailer modified Spaeth’s longtime schedule and refused to accommodate her requests for various hours, despite the fact that she confronted challenges due to her incapacity. It mentioned she struggled to maintain up with the brand new hours, resulting in disciplinary motion for absenteeism. In the end, the corporate fired Spaeth, although she had gotten constructive efficiency critiques from managers. It additionally declined to rehire her, even after her mom and sister tried to intervene and discover a answer, the EEOC mentioned.

“Employers, irrespective of how massive, have an obligation below the regulation to guage the person circumstances of workers with disabilities when contemplating requests for cheap lodging,” Chicago District Director Julianne Bowman mentioned in a press launch. “Ms. Spaeth’s request was a easy one and denying it profoundly altered her life.”

Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove mentioned the corporate is reviewing its subsequent steps. He mentioned the retailer wished to resolve the matter with Spaeth, however mentioned EEOC’s calls for “had been unreasonable.”

He mentioned the decision will probably be diminished to $300,000, the utmost allowed below federal regulation.

“We don’t tolerate discrimination of any type, and we routinely accommodate 1000’s of associates yearly,” he mentioned. “We regularly alter affiliate schedules to fulfill our prospects’ expectations and whereas Ms. Spaeth’s schedule was adjusted, it remained inside the occasions she indicated she was accessible.”

The EEOC didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

As of Friday noon, Walmart’s shares had been comparatively unchanged. They had been down lower than a p.c to $141.53. The retailer’s shares are down practically 2% to date this 12 months.

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