A former Walmart employee with Down’s Syndrome has just been awarded $125 million after the company fired her.
Whew, Walmart just had to hand over a multi-million dollar bag because it broke the American Disabilities Act, which bans anyone and any company from discriminating against anyone with a disability.
Marlo Spaeth has worked at Walmart for about 16 years. A “very hard worker” is what her managers have called her. But, in 2015, her Walmart job – located in Manitowoc, Wisconsin – fired her after they abruptly changed her work shift schedule to one that was a conflict for her. Back in 2014, the store implemented a new scheduling system that analyzes the amount of customer traffic so that there can be enough staffing during specific busy hours.
Spaeth’s noon to 4 p.m. shift was changed to 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., The New York Times reports. Concerned with the sudden change, Spaeth and her family reportedly told the grocery store giant that after the 2014 rota change that “[Spaeth’s] afraid she’s going to miss the bus. She’s afraid she’s going to miss dinner. It’s upsetting to her.”
The managers at that location refused to give Spaeth her original shift despite Spaeth’s family’s request. After that, management gave Spaeth two warnings for being absent and for tardiness. Eight months later, Walmart ended her contract and refused to bring her back on as a worker, Yahoo! News reports.
But, God doesn’t like ugly, and Walmart soon found that out in the form of a lawsuit filed by Spaeth’s family. “The jury here recognised, 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, the lawyer who represented Spaeth.
By the end of it all: Walmart was ordered to pay Spaeth $125 million, which Walmart called “unreasonable,” and claimed the amount would be changed to $300,000 because there’s allegedly a federal law that limits compensatory and punitive damages. “We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, and we routinely accommodate thousands of associates every year,” said Walmart in a statement reported by The Times.