Walmart Seeks New Trial Over Firing Of Employee With Down Syndrome

Retail giant Walmart (WMT) is seeking a new trial in a case over the firing of a longtime employee with Down syndrome, according to CNBC.

In a court filing late Tuesday, Walmart said it was unaware of the link between Marlo Spaeth’s disability and her difficulty to adapt to a new work schedule.

The retailer claims that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which represented Spaeth in the case, did not show proof that Walmart “discriminated against her ‘with malice or with reckless indifference to federally protected rights.'”

The company has requested for a new trial.

Last July, Walmart lost a federal lawsuit and were ordered to pay $125 million in fines for allegedly firing an employee of fifteen years citing a minor reason.

Spaeth had joined the Manitowoc outlet back in 1999 under the job role of folding towels, cleaning aisles, and greeting customers. However, after the introduction of a computerized system, Spaeth was shifted to a different and busier schedule.

This abrupt change made it very difficult for Spaeth and she asked her manager to put her back in the previous schedule. The company disciplined her twice for absenteeism before finally firing her on July 10, 2015, for excessive absenteeism. Spaeth took this loss very seriously and “receded into a shell.”

Despite multiple attempts made by her family to get her rehired, the company refused to do so, according to her lawyer.

After six years of relentless fight against one of the biggest retailers, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin came to a conclusion that the company had violated the Americans With Disabilities Act and awarded Spaeth with $125 million dollars against the company. The jury also added another $150,000 in compensatory damages against the company.

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