Melissa Repko at CNBC:
The firing of Marlo Spaeth, an employee with Down syndrome who worked at Walmart for nearly 16 years, was not a one-time incident, but rather part of the retailer’s pattern, a disability rights attorney said in a court filing Friday.
In the document, attorney Monica Murphy describes how she has represented six Wisconsin residents with disabilities, over the past five years, who have faced similar discrimination at Walmart. She said Walmart refused to accommodate these workers and instead took away their hours or forced them to take unpaid leave. Murphy is an attorney for Disability Rights Wisconsin, a nonprofit group with a mission of protecting the rights of people with disabilities.
Several other court filings on Friday told the stories of other Walmart employees with disabilities who were fired from their jobs. They included lawsuits filed by the workers’ families and a jury verdict in another discrimination lawsuit that awarded more than $5 million in damages to a former Walmart employee. The employees lived in other states, including Maine, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
The filings are the latest development in a legal battle between Walmart and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The federal agency has taken up the case of Spaeth, who worked for more than a decade folding towels, tidying aisles and helping customers as a Walmart associate at a Wisconsin Supercenter. Attorneys for the EEOC argued that Walmart wrongfully fired Spaeth rather than making reasonable accommodations for her disability