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Walmart Sued After Firing Employee With Down Syndrome

And allegedly violating the Americans With Disabilities Act
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2017 3:34 PM CST

(Newser) – The US Equal Employment Opportunities Commission is suing Walmart for allegedly violating the Americans With Disabilities Act after the company fired an employee with Down syndrome, the Mighty reports. Marlo Spaeth had worked at a Walmart in Milwaukee for 15 years. According to the EEOC, she was a good employee who earned raises and satisfactory performance reviews while working noon to 4pm shifts. Then in November 2014, a new computerized scheduling system changed Spaeth's hours, making them later and longer. Amy Jo Stevenson, Spaeth's sister and guardian, tells the Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter her sister's Down syndrome makes it so she can't easily change her "habits and rituals," and Spaeth started having trouble with attendance at work.

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Spaeth asked for her old hours back, but Walmart refused. Stevenson says Walmart claimed the new scheduling system wouldn't let them make changes. Spaeth was fired in July 2015. Walmart says Spaeth understood it was important she work her full shift but continually failed to do so. The EEOC wants Spaeth rehired to her original schedule with back pay and damages. It argues Walmart must "make a good-faith effort to accommodate an employee with a disability," and an EEOC lawyer faults the company for allowing a "simple scheduling request" to end a 15-year career. Walmart argues that the EEOC isn't acting in Spaeth's "best interest." Stevenson says Spaeth still misses her job. (Read more Walmart stories.)

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