Walmart discriminated against a job applicant by assuming her disability would prevent her from working, according to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. The complaint against Wal-mart Stores Texas, LLC says that the female applicant is a congenital amputee who was turned down for a job at Walmart based on an assumption that she could not perform job duties, even though she was working at another retailer at the time.
According to the EEOC, Walmart violated the Americans with Disabilities Act in refusing to refer the woman for hiring. The lawsuit was filed after the EEOC first tried to reach a settlement with Walmart through conciliation. The EEOC is seeking back pay and damages as well as a job at Walmart for the plaintiff. Furthermore, the agency is seeking a permanent injunction against Wal-mart Stores Texas, LLC to prohibit the company from future discriminatory action against disabled workers or job applicants who are qualified for work.
The district director of the EEOC Houston District Office stated that when a disabled worker applies for a job, the employer cannot make an assumption that the person’s disability would prevent them from properly doing the tasks of the job. An attorney with EEOC added that the ADA prohibits discrimination based on either actual or perceived disability.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was amended in 2008 to strengthen protections for people who may be ‘regarded as” having a disability. This means that if someone is discriminated against for a disability that he or she does not actually have but that a prospective employer thinks exists, the employer could be charged with disability discrimination. In the Wal-mart Stores Texas, LCC case, the company is alleged to have violated the ADA due to an assumption made about an existing disability. This is also covered under the law.