The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced that it has settled a disability discrimination lawsuit with Wal-Mart which will require Wal-Mart to pay $250,000 for failing to accommodate a pharmacy technician who suffered a disability from a gunshot.
Since 1993, Glenda Allen (“Allen”) had been employed by Wal-Mart as a pharmacy technician. In 1994, Allen suffered permanent damage to her spinal cord from a gunshot wound sustained during a robbery at a different employer. As a result, she was required to use a cane to assist with her mobility.
According to the EEOC, despite her superior job performance throughout her employment with Wal-Mart, Wal- Mart found that she was incapable of performing her position with or without a reasonable accommodation, denied her a reasonable accommodation, and then unlawfully fired her because of her disability. After the court denied Wal-Mart’s motion for summary judgment and partially granted the EEOC’s cross-motion for summary judgment finding that Wal-Mart did not have an undue hardship defense, the case settled.
Besides the $250,000 monetary payment, the settlement requires Wal-Mart to: (1) observe and post notices to employees on the Americans With Disabilities Act, (2) immediately train all salaried supervisors and managers in the store where the discrimination occurred and provide refresher training for the next three years, and submit a list of all employees in the store and in the district who have been denied a reasonable accommodation and/or complained that they have been denied a reasonable accommodation because of their disabilities.
Frank Del Barto notes that this is the second settlement between the EEOC and Wal-Mart concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act. In April 2008, we reported on a $300,000 settlement between the EEOC and Wal-Mart concerning the company’s failure to hire an individual with cerebral palsy. Frank reminds employers that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to enter into a good faith dialogue with employees to identify potential accommodations. Further, he states that the “reasonableness” of an accommodation will be based on the individual facts and circumstances. A “reasonable” accommodation for a large company with substantial resources may not be “reasonable” for a small office with limited resources.