From the ABA Journal - Law News Now (6/10/08):
Wal-Mart to Pay $250K Settlement for Firing Worker Disabled in Shooting
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Wal-Mart will pay $250,000 to settle a claim that it violated federal disability law when it fired a pharmacy technician who was injured in a shooting.
The employee, Glenda Allen, was working at Wal-Mart in Maryland in 1994 when she was shot in a robbery attempt at a different job, according to a press release issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After the shooting she had to walk with a cane.
Allen continued working as a Wal-Mart pharmacy technician until she got a new manager who refused to accommodate her injuries, the Baltimore Sun reports. The company told Allen in 2003 that she was being demoted to a door greeter, said Allen’s lawyer, Maria Salacuse. Allen refused the demotion and was fired.
Wal-Mart settled the suit filed by the EEOC after a Baltimore federal judge refused the company’s motion to dismiss the case. The settlement is the second time that Wal-Mart has settled an EEOC case this year based on violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
From the Press Release from The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - slightly edited in abridged form (6/9/08):
“When an employer is faced with an employee who has difficulty performing certain tasks because of his or her disability, it cannot sit back passively and then turn around and fire the employee because of its own failure to accommodate,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Jacqueline McNair. “Federal law mandates that employers engage in a good-faith interactive dialogue with the qualified disabled employee to identify potential reasonable accommodations.”Justice has been served
This is the EEOC’s second settlement this year with Wal-Mart concerning the ADA. In April 2008, the EEOC settled a lawsuit concerning Wal-Mart’s failure to hire an individual with cerebral palsy in Richmond, Mo., for $300,000 and injunctive relief. According to its web site(Wal-Mart) , “Today, 7,357 Wal-Mart stores and Sam’s Club locations in 14 markets employ more than 2 million associates, serving more than 179 million customers a year.”
During Fiscal Year 2007, disability discrimination charges filed with the EEOC under the ADA increased 14% to 17,734 -- the highest level in a decade. Approximately one out of every five private sector charge filings with the EEOC contains an allegation of disability discrimination.