Walmart is facing a lawsuit for down syndrome. The suit was brought against the company by a young woman who said she was discriminated against because of her down syndrome.
Although $125million has been awarded to the plaintiff, the company denies any liability. The EEOC also appealed a ruling stating that it had incorrectly paid her back wages.
EEOC gets $125 million in punitive damage
Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), won $125 million in punitive damage against Walmart.
This was in a suit that was brought on behalf Marlo Spaeth who is a former employee of Walmart with Down Syndrome.
A jury awarded prejudgment and tax penalties of $69,000, $44,758 each.
Gregory Gochanour from the EEOC Regional Attorney said the matter involved Walmart not accommodating the schedules of an employee with a disability.
Spaeth faced significant problems due to a change in scheduling that Walmart introduced late 2014.
According to EEOC officials, the schedule changes made it difficult for Spaeth to get to work on time, and she was later fired for excessive absenteeism.
Walmart also failed to provide an accommodation to improve her scheduling, which exacerbated her attendance issues.
Despite receiving positive performance evaluations, Spaeth was denied a schedule adjustment that would have enabled her to be at work on time. Walmart declined to hire her mother after she intervened.
EEOC appeals ruling on back pay
Walmart Inc. was charged with illegally firing a person with Down syndrome when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought suit in January 2017.
EEOC claims Walmart did not accommodate the needs and wants of this employee, despite his sixteen year tenure with the retailer.
In addition to punitive, compensatory, and compensatory damages of $125 million each, the jury also awarded $125m in damages. In addition, the jury awarded front pay interest.
This award was the most significant ever given by a federal agency for one person. However, massive jury verdicts are often about punishing the defendants, not about making the plaintiffs rich.
Despite the fact that the jury awarded $125 million in damages, it did not award the requisite amount of punitive damage. Instead, it reduced the amount to $300,000. This does not include consequential damages.
Along with determining the most significant legal claim, jurors were instructed to search for the simplest solution. This was in this case not the EEOC.
EEOC rehires spaeth after losing lawsuit
A federal lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Walmart, Wisconsin. It alleged that Walmart discriminated against people with disabilities.
The attorneys claim Walmart did not accommodate Marlo Spaeth (a long-time associate in sales) who had Down syndrome.
Jurors awarded punitive damages of more than $125,000,000. It is the largest award in a trial involving one federal agency victim.
Charlotte Burrows, chair of the EEOC said that this award is a powerful message for employers.
Walmart was found to have violated the law by refusing to alter an employee’s work schedule in order to give him or her more flexibility. Spaeth was furious and sued the EEOC.
Spaeth saw her schedule change abruptly as a result of the adoption by the company of a computerized scheduling program. The new shift she was assigned made it difficult for her to get sick.
She wanted her old schedule back and the end and start times to be adjusted. The company denied her request, stating that it was too unreasonable.
Walmart’s unwillingness to accept accountability
A lawsuit filed against Walmart in Wisconsin, claiming disability discrimination, has awarded $300,000 in damages to a woman with Down syndrome. But the company is still weighing whether to appeal.
Marlo Spaeth was born with Down syndrome and worked at the Manitowoc Walmart for sixteen years. In 2014, the store implemented a computerized scheduling system.
Spaeth had difficulty adapting to the changes in schedule. They were designed to match staffing and customer traffic. Spaeth complained that she missed dinner.
Spaeth claims Walmart discriminated against her by not making reasonable accommodation for her disability. Walmart denied her request for an adjustment in her work hours.
After she was fired, Spaeth became a little less social. She would sometimes leave early and get sick. The time she worked changed between noon and 4pm to 11:15 to 12.30 to 5.30pm.
According to her supervisors, she was in need of more support. Her supervisors testified that she sometimes left early in order to ride the bus to work.