Walmart Discriminated Against Pregnant Employees: Lawsuit

Pregnant workers say they were made to do potentially harmful work
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2017 12:12 PM CDT

(Newser) – Two former Walmart workers say the retail giant discriminated against thousands of pregnant women, and they've filed a proposed class-action lawsuit. The suit from Talisa Borders and Otisha Woolbright says that until three years ago, Walmart's policy was to deny pregnant women the accommodations that workers with disabilities were granted, meaning that their requests to limit possibly harmful duties such as climbing ladders and lifting were denied. The lawsuit claims that the policy, which was changed in 2014, violated a federal law that requires companies to treat an employee's pregnancy as a temporary disability and provide appropriate accommodations, Reuters reports. The women's lawyers say they plan another lawsuit based on Walmart's new policy, which they say still does not go far enough.

Woolbright says when she asked to avoid heavy lifting at a Florida store, her manager told her her pregnancy was "no excuse," even though she had a doctor's note; she says she ended up being fired after getting hurt while lifting heavy trays in the deli department and asking for more information on Walmart's policy on pregnant workers. Borders says she was forced to go on unpaid leave at an Illinois Walmart while pregnant after nearly slipping off a ladder and thereafter declining to climb them; she adds she was paid $2 less per hour when she came back to work, the Consumerist reports. Their lawsuit says the proposed class could include anywhere from 20,000 to nearly 50,000 women who worked at Walmart while pregnant and before the policy change took place. In a statement, Walmart denies the lawsuit's claims. (Read more Walmart stories.)

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