The firing of a Walmart employee with Down syndrome was not an isolated incident


In July, a Green Bay jury returned a verdict in favor of the EEOC in a disability discrimination case against the retail giant.

Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / Getty Images

The firing of Marlo Spaeth, an employee with Down syndrome who worked at Walmart for nearly 16 years, was not an isolated incident, but rather part of the pattern Walmart employs, according to a disability rights attorney during a judicial presentation made on Friday.

In the document, attorney Monica Murphy describes how she has represented to six Wisconsin residents with disabilities in the past five years who have faced similar discrimination at Walmart, the largest retail store in the world.

Attorney Murphy said Walmart refused to accommodate workers with disabilities and instead took away their hours or forced them to take unpaid leave.

Murphy is an attorney for Disability Rights Wisconsin, a nonprofit group whose mission is to protect the rights of people with disabilities.

On Friday during a presentation of the court files they also relate the stories of other Walmart employees who were fired and removed from their jobs.

A lawsuit managed to deliver a worker’s family more than $ 5 million.

The lawsuits represent a legal battle between the company and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Among the cases is that of Spaeth, who worked for more than 16 years folding towels and ordering aisles and helping customers as a Walmart associate in a Wisconsin branch. The attorneys argued that Walmart unfairly fired Spaeth instead of taking his requests into account.

A jury found that the company violated federal law. Jurors sentenced the company to pay more than $ 125 million in damages, one of the highest amounts in the federal agency’s history for a single victim. The award was reduced by the judge to $ 300,000, the maximum allowed by law.

Now Walmart and the EEOC are waiting for a judge to decide whether the nation’s largest private employer will face stricter oversight or be forced to make changes to its corporate policies.

Walmart Lawyers objected to EEOC’s requests for additional oversight arguing that the company had not violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and that the EEOC had no evidence that the company might violate it in the future.

The human rights attorney representing other cases said the employees had worked for Walmart for years but that when the company began using a computerized scheduling system in its stores, employees were faced with a sudden change in their work schedules and the company refused to make adjustments to their schedules.

The attorney said that two employees with disabilities she represents who worked for Walmart for 16 years, They were fired when they told the company they couldn’t work 8-hour shifts.

He is also currently handling the case of a woman who after 11 years of work was fired by Walmart after she had difficulty adjusting to her new schedule. The retailer fired her on the grounds that she was absent too much.

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