A jury discovered Walmart liable on three claims of incapacity discrimination final summer time within the case of a former retailer employee with Down syndrome. (Shutterstock)
Eight months after a jury ordered Walmart to pay a former worker with a incapacity over $125 million for failing to supply acceptable lodging, the retailer is looking for a brand new trial.
Marlo Spaeth, who has Down syndrome, labored at a Manitowoc, Wis. Walmart for greater than 15 years, all the time garnering optimistic evaluations, however she was fired in July 2015 after she struggled to regulate to adjustments in her longtime work schedule, in response to the Equal Employment Alternative Fee, which sued Walmart on behalf of Spaeth.
In July 2021, a jury discovered that Walmart violated the Individuals with Disabilities Act and awarded Spaeth $150,000 in compensatory damages and $125 million in punitive damages. The award was subsequently lowered to $300,000, the utmost allowed underneath the regulation.
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Now, nonetheless, Walmart claims that it was unaware that Spaeth’s issue adjusting to her new schedule was associated to her Down syndrome prognosis. In a court docket submitting final week, the corporate stated that Spaeth by no means supplied a physician’s be aware and cited an EEOC medical skilled who testified that most individuals — together with most medical professionals — “do not know” that folks with Down syndrome have hassle adjusting to new schedules.
“So whereas Walmart knew that Ms. Spaeth had requested a return to her prior fastened schedule, nothing in Walmart’s information prompt that this request was linked to her Down syndrome,” reads the court docket submitting, which requests a brand new trial. “Walmart didn’t act with malice or reckless indifference in direction of Ms. Spaeth’s rights.”
Spaeth’s sister Amy Jo Stevenson just lately advised CNBC that Spaeth was making ready to return to her job at Walmart. When she discovered of the retailer’s newest request to the court docket, the community stories that Stevenson stated “we consider the jury acquired it proper the primary time.”
The EEOC didn’t reply to a request for remark concerning the matter.