Former Walmart employee with Down syndrome was awarded $125million in a discrimination lawsuit.
Marlo Spaeth finally got what she truly deserved for her 16 years of hard work for a Walmart store in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The woman living with Down syndrome was recently awarded $125M in a discrimination case against the retail corporation. Disappointingly, this occurs six years after Marlo was fired from the store because of her disability.
In the trial, Spaeth claimed she needs to maintain a strict daily schedule as part of her condition, Daily Mail reports. Despite being aware of that while employing her, the store disregarded her special needs and even made her work longer hours in 2014 – a year before firing her.
Jury awards over $125M in EEOC #ADA case against Walmart. The jury found that the retailer failed to accommodate a longtime employee with Down syndrome, and then fired her in July 2015 because of her disability. https://t.co/sEeqxPF4rj
— U.S. EEOC (@USEEOC) July 16, 2021
In 2017, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission(EEOC) filed a lawsuit on Marlo’s behalf. According to the case, Walmart not only fired Spaeth but also refused to rehire her after she requested an adjustment to her schedule by 60 to 90 minutes to get back to her noon to 4 pm shift.
Four years later, a Green Bay jury sided with the former Walmart employee and awarded her $125million in punitive damages and $150,000 in compensatory damages.
Following the jury’s decision, a spokesperson for the corporation said the number would likely be reduced to $300,000 – the maximum cap on damages in ADA cases. However, the EEOC highlighted this does not apply to back pay, front pay, litigation costs, or interest.
Randy Hargrove, a Walmart spokesman, stated:
“While Ms. Spaeth’s schedule was adjusted, it remained within the times she indicated she was available. We’re sensitive to this situation and believe we could have resolved this issue with Ms. Spaeth, however the EEOC’s demands were unreasonable.”
Contrarily, Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Chicago District Office, insisted that the jury recognized “and apparently was quite offended that Ms. Spaeth lost her job because of needless — and unlawful — inflexibility on the part of Walmart.”
Overjoyed with the Green Bay jury’s ruling, Megan Bigler Tafolla, a financial social work educator, tweeted:
“Marlo Spaeth, I see and hear you, and I’m so sorry that you had to experience a battle just to be heard. While not near what you deserve for the experience you had, I hope you are able to do something meaningful with this settlement and that it helps bring some closure.”
— Megan Bigler Tafolla (@MegDotBig) July 16, 2021