Labor Legislation: Walmart misplaced a lawsuit introduced by employee with Down syndrome | Enterprise Information
RTD Metro Business Legal Columnist, Karen Michael.
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By KAREN MICHAEL special correspondent
A Walmart employee with Down syndrome who was fired for excessive absenteeism was awarded $ 150,000 in damages and a whopping $ 125 million in punitive damages after a four-day jury trial in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
The former employee claimed the chain discriminated against and failed to comply with her when she changed her schedule after implementing a new computer system. The change of date led to attendance problems that ended with her termination. She tried to be reinstated after her release, but Walmart did not.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which sued on her behalf, alleged she was denied reinstatement because of her disability and need for reasonable accommodation.
The jury deliberated only three hours before pronouncing its verdict.
According to the EEOC, the jury found that Walmart did not accommodate the employee and then fired her because of her disability. Her job as a saleswoman was to fold towels, clean aisles, process returns and greet customers.
The EEOC claimed Walmart changed their long-standing work schedule, making it very difficult for a person with a disability like Down syndrome to adhere to. The employee asked for her start and end times to be adjusted by only 60 to 90 minutes. She wanted to go back to her previous schedule.