Walmart Modifications Disabled Employees Reassignment Coverage After Settling Discrimination Lawsuit
Walmart has announced that it will change its disabled worker reassignment policy after agreeing to resolve a $ 80,000 discrimination lawsuit.
The lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)claims the retail giant failed to provide longtime employee Veronica Resendez with sufficient options after developing a spinal stenosis and unable to perform her role as a sales rep at a Walmart store in Augusta, Maine.
Walmart reportedly said the only positions that could accommodate her disability are locker room attendant and greeter, but such roles are not available in the Augusta store.
However, there were two employee positions available in the locker room Waterville and one in Thomastonwho did not let Walmart know Resendez from.
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At the time, Walmart’s disability reassignment policy meant looking for vacancies only in the store the employee had worked in.
That’s what the EEOC says Resendez “would have liked to take jobs” at either of the other two locations, if they had been offered.
Resendezwho had worked at Walmart since 1999, left the company after failing to find a new role in the business she worked in.
The EEOC accused Walmart of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires employees with disabilities to be offered reasonable accommodation reassignments to a vacant position in order to keep their jobs.
As part of the deal with the EEOC, Walmart said it will now change its reassignment policy to allow workers with disabilities can ask the company to search up to five stores outside of their current location for a vacancy. Resendez will also receive $ 80,000 as part of settlement.
“Federal law requires employers to switch workers with disabilities to vacancies as a last resort,” said Jeffrey Burstein, Regional Attorney for the New York District Office of the EEOC.
“We are delighted that this lawsuit, which arose from an individual employee’s complaint, has resulted in the nationwide change we are seeking, and we applaud Walmart for making that change.”
Kevin Berry, District Director of EEOC New York, added, “Employers cannot refuse to offer adequate statutory housing in the absence of undue hardship. This case shows that there is no undue hardship beyond business to look for a vacancy. “
In a statement to Newsweek, Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said, “We do not tolerate any form of discrimination.
“We have been a top employer for people with disabilities for many years and have thousands of employees who do their jobs with reasonable accommodation, including reallocations.
“Long before the deal was reached, we tested a program that would allow hourly workers to search other stores in their area for a job to do. We plan to roll this out across all US stores by February 2020.
“We look forward to resolving this matter and wish Ms. Resendez all the best.”
Shoppers wait in line to pay for their purchases at a Walmart store in The Angeles, California on November 24, 2009. Walmart pays a former worker $ 80,000 and changes nationality Reassignment Guidelines for Resolving Disability Discrimination Claims.
ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty