The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed several lawsuits alleging that Walmart discriminated against disabled workers.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against Walmart, alleging that the corporation illegally fired an employee with Crohn’s disease.
According to CNBC, the employee—who suffers from a chronic health condition—was terminated after requesting disability-related leave.
Now, in a lawsuit filed in a Charlotte-based federal court, the E.E.O.C. claims that Walmart violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by mistreating plaintiff Adrian Tucker, who was employed in a store deli.
The lawsuit, writes CNBC, is one of several high-profile cases that the E.E.O.C. has filed against Walmart in recent months.
Earlier this year, a federal judge rejected the company’s request to dismiss a complaint filed on behalf of Marlo Spaeth, an employee with Down syndrome who had worked at a Walmart supercenter for nearly 16 years.
Spaeth, notes CNBC, had requested a revision of her schedule after a supervisor change her hours.
However, when Spaeth asked that she receive new hours to accommodate her disability, she was fired.
Walmart is currently appealing a jury award in Spaeth’s case.
The jury’s verdict, writes CNBC, ordered Walmart to pay Spaeth more than $125 million in damages.
However, the significant sum was later reduced to $300,000, the maximum amount allowed by federal law.
Walmart has responded to allegations of disability-related employment discrimination by emphasizing its corporate values.
“We have been a top employer for those with disabilities for years and have thousands of associates who perform their jobs with reasonable accommodation, including applying for and receiving appropriate leave. We don’t tolerate discrimination of any kind and take allegations like this seriously. We are reviewing the complaint and will respond in court as appropriate once we are served,” a Walmart representative said in a statement.
In the most recent lawsuit, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges that Walmart fired deli worker Adrian Tucker for violating the company’s attendance policy.
Tucker, notes CNBC, purportedly received nine “unauthorized” absences over the course of 6 months.
However, E.E.O.C. attorneys say that Tucker has Crohn’s disease, a chronic bowel condition that can cause inflammation of the digestive tract, stomach cramps, and dehydration.
While working at Walmart between 2014 and 2017, Tucker repeatedly asked the store to accommodate her disability by being moved to a position closer to an in-store bathroom.
Tucker also asked for intermittent leave to accommodate Crohn’s-related complications.
Walmart did excuse some of Tucker’s absences, but refused to allow other days—even those that Tucker could show were caused by medical appointments and hospitalizations.
Attorneys for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have asked the federal court to award financial relief for back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages.
The E.E.O.C. is also requesting an injunction against Walmart to end any ongoing disability-related discrimination.