In a recent lawsuit, the EEOC is accusing Walmart of violating ADA guidelines when they fired a former employee who had Crohn’s disease.
EEOC Sues Walmart
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against Walmart Inc (WMT.N), the largest US retailer, alleging that it unlawfully terminated a deli employee suffering from Crohn’s disease in North Carolina.
Crohn’s disease is an chronic bowel disease that causes inflammation in the digestive tract, and can lead to diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue and weight loss.
According to the EEOC, Walmart violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it terminated Adrian Tucker in April 2017. The commission claims that Walmart fired Tucker due to her nine “unauthorized” absences within the previous six months, including a hospitalization and a visit to the emergency room, which it deemed a breach of the company’s “attendance and punctuality policy.”
Walmart Denied Tucker’s Request for Leave
In a complaint filed in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina, it was alleged that Walmart denied Adrian Tucker’s requests for periodic leave or a transfer to a job closer to the bathroom, and did not excuse several absences despite her providing doctor’s notes.
Adrian Tucker worked at a Walmart in Statesville, North Carolina for three years before being fired. During her time there, she performed various tasks such as serving customers, preparing food, cleaning, washing dishes, and lifting boxes of chicken that weighed up to 50 pounds (23 kg).
EEOC lawyer Melinda Dugas stated that Adrian Tucker, a long-time employee, required “flexibility” from Walmart due to her severe health condition. Dugas added that “The Americans with Disabilities Act was created to protect employees like [her].”
Walmart “Doesn’t Tolerate Discrimination”
Walmart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, said it was reviewing the complaint. “We have been a top employer for those with disabilities for years and have thousands of associates who perform their jobs with reasonable accommodation,” it said.
“We don’t tolerate discrimination of any kind and take allegations like this seriously.”
The lawsuit seeks back pay and punitive damages for Tucker, and an end to similar future discrimination.
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