Feb 25

Walmart Sued for Wrongful Termination of Employee with Down Syndrome

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employee termination formAs the country’s largest private employer, Walmart provides jobs to a full percent of working Americans. It also constantly receives backlash for allegations of employment law violations. From withholding back wages for overtime to nonexempt employees to underpaying women and providing them with few opportunities for advancement, the retail giant does not hold the best reputation as an employer. Most recently, the company has been accused of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by firing a dedicated employee of 15 years who happens to have Down syndrome.

In July 2015, Marlo Spaeth was let go from a Wisconsin Walmart store after working there for fifteen years. Throughout her career, she received several pay raises and satisfactory reviews. Then one day, managers changed her schedule to one to which she was not accustomed.

According to the wrongful termination lawsuit, Spaeth typically worked four-hour shifts beginning at noon until managers changed the schedule to make her work for longer periods of time. Walmart blamed this on their new computerized scheduling system. Due to her Down syndrome, Spaeth struggled with the extended hours and was disciplined for absenteeism. Ultimately, she was fired.

After her termination, Marlo Spaeth’s sister and caregiver, Amy Stevenson, asked the store to rehire her and let her work her regular hours in the afternoon, to which Walmart refused. The EEOC claims that by refusing this simple scheduling request, the company has violated terms of the ADA. A settlement was never successfully negotiated and a lawsuit was filed on January 18, 2017. The lawsuit asks the court to order Walmart to hire Spaeth back and pay her back wages. It also seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

With approximately 87 stores, Walmart employees almost 45,000 people in the state of Virginia. If you or someone you know has suffered disability discrimination at the hands of the Walmart or other corporations, experienced attorneys who fight discrimination can help you put an end to unfair treatment. Bertini Law is a boutique law firm that focuses on employment law cases and tackles all forms of workplace discrimination in Virginia Beach and surrounding areas. Attorney Lisa A. Bertini is dedicated to protecting employee rights at every step of the legal process. Call (727) 222-9165 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.