A jury in Green Bay, Wisconsin, returned a $ 125.2 million verdict against Walmart Inc. in a disability discrimination case filed by the U.S. Gender Equality Commission.
Walmart said in a statement afterwards that the sentence would be reduced to $ 300,000. , which it said was the maximum allowed under federal law.
The jury found that Walmart violated the Americans with Disabilities by not accepting Marlo Spaeth, a 16-year-old employee with Down Syndrome, and dismissed her since July 2015 for her disability, the EEOC said Friday in a statement.
The EEOC said it presented evidence that a change Walmart made to Spaeth's long-term work schedule caused her significant difficulties.
When she requested that her start and end times return to her previous schedule, Walmart did not act on her request and fired her instead, the agency said.
The jury also found that Walmart rejected Mrs Spaeth's later request to be re-employed because of her disability or because of her need to meet her disability.
The EEOC said that Spaeth had consistently received positive performance evaluations from its executives.
The jury awarded Ms. Spaeth $ 1
EEOC President Charlotte A. Burrows said in the statement, "The essential jurisprudence in this case sends a strong message to employers that disability discrimination is unacceptable in our nation's workplaces. . "
" Everyone who comes forward to ensure the right to a workplace free from discrimination is doing a service for our nation.
Walmart said in a statement that it is exploring its options.
"We do not tolerate any form of discrimination, and we routinely accept thousands of employees every year," the company said. "We often adapt associated schedules to meet our customers' expectations, and while Spaeth's schedule was adjusted, it remained within the times she indicated she was available.
" We are sensitive to this situation and believe we could have resolved this issue with Mrs. Spaeth; however, the EEOC's requirements were unreasonable. ”