Wal – Mart Stores Inc. is about to pay $275,000 fine for the employment disability lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against them at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Greenville Division after firing an employee who underwent from a cancer surgery.
This case was one of the agency’s first lawsuits that were filed under the ADAAA. Denied reasonable accommodation and retaliation against disabled people violates Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended by the Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008.
Wal – Mart has been branded since 2008. Right from the start, it is an American Multinational retailer corporation with chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores. It is the 18th largest public corporation in terms of global listing and revenue ranking. Wal-Mart is also currently the biggest private employer in the globe with more than 2 million employees as well as the world’s biggest retailer.
Under the lawsuit, the EEOC is claiming that the company failed to accommodate the disability of a 12 – year employee of its distribution center at the #6039 Midway Tennessee.
Said employee underwent a cancer surgery which made his right shoulder weak. The company fired him in retaliation for complaining about the said company’s refusal to accommodate his disabilities. The employee worked as a forklift driver. He requested the company not to require him to cover a 20 – minute break in the shipping because it would require manual lifting. However, Wal – Mart denied the employees request for an accommodation and fired him instead for not being eligible to perform the essential functions of his job.
In addition to the fine, the 18 month consent decree settling the suit directs Wal – Mart’s distribution center #6039 from further failure in providing reasonable accommodation, absent improper hardship or following proper methods for accommodating such request in accordance with the ADA and ADAAA. Furthermore they are required to provide anti – disability discriminations trainings and seminars as well as maintaining records of requests for accommodation. The EEOC’s contact information should also be posted together with the notice to employees about the foregoing lawsuit. It’s just the usual and yet heavy punishment for the companies violating both the ADA and the ADAAA.
Employers should never forget that there is a firm body of federal law that strictly obliges employers to provide a reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities to avoid generous penalties. Such employment disability might be a simple offense to companies but not for the EEOC.