Walmart should be under scrutiny over layoff of employee with Down’s syndrome, EEOC says

Walmart should be under scrutiny over layoff of employee with Down's syndrome, EEOC says

Exterior view of a Walmart store on August 23, 2020 in North Bergen, New Jersey. Walmart saw profits jump in the last quarter as e-commerce sales increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

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A jury found Walmart broke the law by firing a longtime employee with Down syndrome. Now the US Equal Employment Commission wants the judge to warn the country’s largest private employer so this doesn’t happen again.

In a motion filed Friday, the federal agency said Walmart must be under strict surveillance for the next five years and that company policies are needed to clarify that employees with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodation.

In addition, the EEOC said, Walmart should be forced to display a sign regarding the lawsuit and its actions in more than 100 stores. A draft memo, which the EEOC created and shared with the judge, explains why the company was wrong to fire longtime employee Marlo Spaeth – and calls it a warning about the consequences of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Use it as a story.

The federal agency is asking five years to publish memos in an area where Walmart violated the ADA.

A judge will ultimately decide whether or not to grant injunction measures.

Walmart is reviewing the case, company spokesman Randy Hargrove said.

In a previous statement, he said that executives and managers at Walmart “take the support of all of our partners seriously and, for people with disabilities, we regularly welcome thousands of them every year.”

Marlo Spaeth (left) was fired from Walmart in July 2015 after working there for almost 16 years. His sister, Amy Jo Stevenson, has since been engaged in a legal battle with the retail giant. She filed a discrimination complaint with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Amy Joe Stevenson

The EEOC and Walmart have been fighting a legal battle over Spaeth’s sacking for years. Spaeth, who has Down syndrome, worked for almost 16 years as a sales associate at a Walmart supermarket in Manitowoc, a small town in eastern Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Michigan. She was fired after the store started using a new computerized scheduling system that changed her hours. Managers refused to reinstate Spaeth’s long-standing work schedule.

In July, Walmart lost the lawsuit and was ordered to pay a verdict of more than $ 125 million per jury, one of the highest in federal agency history for a single victim. The damages were reduced by the judge to $ 300,000, the maximum allowed by law.

In Friday’s motion, the EEOC said Walmart would have to pay about $ 187,000 on top of those losses to make up for Spaeth’s years of lost wages. He told the judge Walmart had to reinstate Spaeth as an employee or pay the equivalent of ten years’ salary in return for his reinstatement.

Yet the federal agency also argued that the monetary damages were not sufficient. He called for stricter Walmart surveillance – and posted signs – in the area where Spaeth’s store is located. The area includes more than a hundred stores, according to an EEOC file, but did not specify which states and cities are included beyond this part of Wisconsin.

In this area, she said Walmart requires ADA training for all managers and supervisors and should include adherence to these policies in annual performance reviews. He also said Walmart must be obligated to notify the EEOC within 90 days of any request for an employee’s disability accommodation and share the details of the request, including the person’s name and contact information. . Understands – as well as how Walmart responded.

The EEOC’s proposal echoes the wishes of Spaeth’s sister, Amy Jo Stevenson.

In an interview with CNBC in July, she said her sister was broken when she lost her job. Stevenson said she wanted all Walmart employees and managers to know what happened to her sister – and understand their rights and requirements under the ADA.

“I imagine hanging out at every Walmart with a memo from Marlo Spaeth that says, ‘You can’t do that,’” Stevenson said.

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