Walmart loses EEOC disability lawsuit that alleged discrimination against a longtime employee with Down syndrome
· Walmart must pay damages in a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency said Friday.
· Marlo Spaeth, a 16-year Walmart employee who has Down syndrome, was fired after the retailer changed her schedule and she struggled to manage the new hours.
· A jury awarded Spaeth more than $125 million in damages -- but Walmart said the maximum amount allowed under federal law is $300,000.
· Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the retailer wanted to resolve the matter with Spaeth, but said the EEOC’s demands “were unreasonable.”
Melissa Repko, CNBC
Jul 16 2021
A jury ruled that Walmart must pay more than $125 million in damages in a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency said Friday.
The lawsuit alleged the retailer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination based on a person’s disability. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Marlo Spaeth, a 16-year Walmart employee who has Down syndrome, in a federal court in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Spaeth worked at a Walmart Supercenter in Manitowoc, which is about 40 miles southeast of Green Bay.
In the lawsuit, the federal agency said the retailer changed Spaeth’s longtime work schedule and refused to accommodate her requests for different hours, even though she faced challenges because of her disability. It said she struggled to keep up with the new hours, leading to disciplinary action for absenteeism. Ultimately, the company fired Spaeth, though she had gotten positive performance reviews from managers. It also declined to rehire her, even after her mother and sister tried to intervene and find a solution, the EEOC said.
“Employers, no matter how large, have an obligation under the law to evaluate the individual circumstances of employees with disabilities when considering requests for reasonable accommodations,” Chicago District Director Julianne Bowman said in a press release…
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