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Florida Walmart Store Hit with Pregnancy Discrimination Suit

— July 21, 2022

Walmart was recently hit with a lawsuit alleging pregnancy discrimination.

A woman in Florida recently filed a lawsuit against Walmart over allegations that the retailer fired her when she “complained that the location she worked at failed to provide reasonable accommodations for her to pump breast milk after she gave birth.”

Image of the EEOC seal
Seal of the EEOC; image courtesy of U.S. Government via Wikimedia Commons,

The suit was filed on July 7 in the Northern District of Florida. It specifically alleges Jane Doe was “harassed and not afforded privacy when she needed to take pumping breaks at work, only to be terminated two days after she complained to a general manager.” According to the lawsuit, whenever she attempted to pump, she was “constantly interrupted by random individuals coming into the room…causing her great discomfort.”

At the time, the woman was working as a baker and deli worker at a Walmart store in Northern Florida. She claims that whenever she took breaks to pump breastmilk for her baby, she was harassed by a deli manager and store manager.

To make matters worse, the suit details how the room that Jane Doe was given was frequently locked when she needed it. Additionally, sometimes she would have to “wait up to an hour for someone to open it for her.” She further claimed that her male coworkers sometimes worked in the room while she pumped, making her incredibly uncomfortable.

Eventually, she asked a deli manager “for reasonable accommodations, showing him a doctor’s note.” His response? Allegedly, he told her that “Walmart does not accept doctor’s notes.” Then, on January 14, 2021, she went to a general manager at the store and told them she was “being subjected to discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.” Instead of offering solutions to remedy the matter, she was fired two days later.

The suit states:

“It is clear that Defendant saw Plaintiff’s pregnancy and her restrictions/need to pump breast milk as problematic and utilized same as a substantial motivating reason in its decision to terminate her.”

Randy Hargrove a Walmart spokesperson, pushed back against the allegations and said the company “does not tolerate discrimination or retaliation of any kind, and believes management provided the woman with the necessary breaks to express milk in a secure, clean and private area.”

He added that the decision to terminate Jane Doe’s position was based on “excessive absences that were unrelated to any breaks or protected activity.” He further noted:

“Our pregnancy policy has always fully met or exceeded both state and federal law,” the statement continued.”

He also pointed out that, before filing her lawsuit, she brought her case before the Florida Commission on Human Relations. That body ruled on March 28, 2022 that there was “no reasonable cause to believe that an unlawful practice occurred.”

However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) heard her case and granted her the right to sue the retailer. It’ll be interesting to see how this case plays out.


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