Walmart Fined $125 Mln For Firing Employee With Down's Syndrome

Retail giant Walmart ended up in the losing end of a federal lawsuit and will have to pay $125 million in fines for allegedly firing an employee of fifteen years citing a minor reason.

The federal court in Wisconsin has given the verdict against the retail chain after 6 years as the employee, Marlo Spaeth and her sister refused to give up the cause.

Spaeth joined the Manitowoc outlet back in 1999 under the job role of folding towels, cleaning aisles, and greeting customers. In her time with the retailers, she also gained pay rises and positive reviews. However, after the introduction of a computerized system, Spaeth was shifted to a different and busier schedule.

This abrupt change made it very difficult for Spaeth and she asked her manager to put her back in the previous schedule. The company disciplined her twice for absenteeism before finally firing her on July 10, 2015, for excessive absenteeism. Spaeth took this loss very seriously and "receded into a shell."

Despite multiple attempts made by her family to get her rehired, the company refused to do so, according to her lawyer. After six years of relentless fight against one of the biggest retailers, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin came to a conclusion that the company had violated the Americans With Disabilities Act and awarded Spaeth with $125 million dollars against the company. The jury also added another $150,000 in compensatory damages against the company.

"The jury here recognized, and apparently was quite offended, that Ms. Spaeth lost her job because of needless — and unlawful — inflexibility on the part of Walmart," said Gregory Gochanour, of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Walmart said in a statement in reaction to the verdict, "We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, and we routinely accommodate thousands of associates every year. We often adjust associate schedules to meet our customers' expectations and while Ms. Spaeth's schedule was adjusted, it remained within the times she indicated she was available."

The company regrets the situation which, they think, could've been solved internally. But the company would have to pay only $300,000, as outlined by the Federal Law for punitive damages.

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