Walmart is Ordered by a Judge to Rehire a Worker with Down Syndrome and Pay Back Pay

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Retail giant Walmart has been ordered by a federal judge to rehire Marlo Spaeth, an employee with Down syndrome who was fired suddenly after working almost 16 years at a Wisconsin Supercenter.
Walmart was also ordered to pay Spaeth more than $50,000 in back pay.

The judge, however, denied the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s request for tighter scrutiny of Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer. The ruling can be appealed by both sides.

Walmart told CNBC on Wednesday that it would comply with the order to give Spaeth her job back. A spokesman said the company has not decided whether to appeal the ruling on back pay, along with $300,000 in jury damages.

“We take supporting all our associates seriously and routinely accommodate thousands with disabilities every year,” Walmart said.

It was a more than five-year court battle between the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Walmart. The federal agency sued Walmart on Spaeth’s behalf, after the retailer refused to accommodate her disability and fired her after nearly 16 years of working at one of its Supercenters.

As part of the lawsuit, the EEOC had asked Judge William Griesbach to require Walmart to add training for managers about the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The EEOC also had wanted Walmart to notify all employees about a jury’s verdict in Spaeth’s favor, their legal rights and their ability to contact the federal agency to report violations.

The judge wrote: “The substantial verdict against Walmart and the publicity it generated serve as strong deterrents against any repeat of the conduct at issue in this case.”

Disclaimer: We have no position in any of the companies mentioned and have not been compensated for this article.