Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., a huge retailer with stores in California and across the nation, was accused of violating federal discrimination law when it purportedly failed to accommodate a former employee’s physical limitations. A disability discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of the then-employee accused the retailer of failing to provide adequate workplace accommodations for the woman’s disability, and also claimed that she was the focus of harassment as well. The company will pay the woman $75,000 to settle the lawsuit.
The plaintiff is a cancer survivor who was left with resulting physical limitations. She needed a modified work schedule and a chair in her work area. The federal lawsuit claimed that the Wal-Mart store at which she worked provided the modified schedule for only a short time period before revoking it without any apparent reason. In addition, the store purportedly failed to make sure a chair remained in the employee’s work area and told her that she was responsible for carrying her own chair from the furniture department of the store, despite the fact that this was difficult for her due to her disability.
Furthermore, the suit asserted that another Wal-Mart employee mocked and harassed the woman verbally. The store’s alleged failure to put a stop to this harassment constitutes a hostile work environment. This, in addition to the retailer’s purported failure to provide “reasonable accommodation” when it came to the chair and the work schedule, would all constitute conduct in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
In addition to the settlement of $75,000 of monetary relief to the former employee, a two-year decree was also ordered to provide additional relief. This non-monetary aspect of the decree requires the store to educate its employees on aspects of the ADA, including requests for reasonable accommodations and how to prevent disability discrimination. If any residents of California find themselves victims of disability discrimination in the workplace, they can find help by contacting an attorney with experience in employment law and workplace discrimination.
Source: natlawreview.com, “Wal-Mart to Pay $75,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Lawsuit“, Dec. 12, 2016