Jury orders Walmart to pay $125 million after it fired worker with Down syndrome

Jury orders Walmart to pay 5 million after it fired worker with Down syndrome

Walmart Inc. lost a federal lawsuit in Wisconsin when a jury sided with a sales associate who has Down syndrome and alleged that the company fired her because of her disability.

Marlo Spaeth worked for Walmart for about 16 years before she was fired from its Manitowoc store in 2015 due to excessive absenteeism. 

According to the lawsuit, brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Spaeth’s work schedule changed after Walmart implemented a new computerized system in 2014, which created significant difficulty for her.

The jury found that Walmart failed to accommodate Spaeth’s disability and fired her because of it, which is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the EEOC said.

“The substantial jury verdict in this case sends a strong message to employers that disability discrimination is unacceptable in our nation’s workplaces,” EEOC Chair Charlotte Burrows said in a statement.

Walmart is likely to pay much less than the substantial verdict the jury awarded, however.

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