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Woman sues Walmart for pregnancy discrimination

On Sept. 21, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a complaint alleging that Walmart has discriminated against pregnant employees for years at one warehouse location. As Walmart is the largest private employer in the country, readers in New Jersey might be interested in the details of the lawsuit. According to the complaint, the giant retailer failed to make accommodations for medical limitations related to pregnancy.

Modifications of jobs were given to employees who were not pregnant but had disabilities. Walmart also allegedly denied requests by pregnant women for unpaid time off. The warehouse in question is in Wisconsin. The EEOC claims that an employee there requested transfer to a less demanding job or light duty after she became pregnant in 2015, and that her request was denied. The company also refused later requests made by the employee for additional breaks, shorter work days and a chair.

Via a written statement, the EEOC district director who oversaw the administrative investigation said that Walmart had a light duty program for employees who had lifting restrictions, but the company did not allow pregnant employees to take advantage of the program. That is pregnancy discrimination, the statement said.

In a case where an employee believes he or she has been a victim of workplace discrimination, a lawyer might be able to help. A lawyer with experience in employment law might examine the facts of the case and identify discriminatory actions. Discrimination is prohibited in the workplace based on race, sex, national origin, and other characteristics. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 makes it illegal to discriminate against pregnant women. A 2015 Supreme Court decision made clear that the Act requires employers to make accommodations for pregnant workers.

Source: NPR, "Federal Commission Sues Walmart For Alleged Discrimination Against Pregnant Employees", Vanessa Romo, Sept. 21, 2018

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