From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
A Walmart store in Washington allegedly discriminated against two deaf employees by failing to provide them with American Sign Language interpreters and other accommodations, the U.S. government says.
Walmart isn’t the first company sued by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under federal disabilities bias law for allegedly failing to accommodate employees or job applicants with hearing difficulties. Others include McDonald’s, the Cheesecake Factory, and FedEx Ground Package System.
The case against McDonald’s settled for $56,500 and other relief, including modifications to a Missouri restaurant’s online and paper job applications. The one against the Cheesecake Factory settled for $15,000, an agreement to hold managers accountable for violating deaf workers’ job rights, and other relief. The lawsuit against FedEx Ground is ongoing.
The EEOC maintains a service for deaf and hard of hearing workers whose primary language is ASL to assist them in communicating directly with agency staff about suspected job bias.
Tonya Bland was an overnight stocker during her more than two years working at the store. Troy Miles was a sales associate, merchandise manager, and department manager during his three-year tenure, the EEOC alleges in the June 1 lawsuit against Walmart. Bland is profoundly deaf; Miles is profoundly deaf in one ear and has moderate to severe hearing loss in the other, the agency says.
Both workers needed and asked for ASL interpreters for workplace meetings, the EEOC says. Those included Bland’s daily group meetings, where shift duties and other workplace information were discussed, and Miles’ daily meetings for department managers.
The workers’ requests were denied, despite Walmart’s awareness of their hearing issues. The company also denied Bland’s request for closed-captioning on video presentations and Miles’ request for consistent and thorough note-taking for certain meetings.
That violated the workers’ rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act to the equal benefits and privileges of employment, the EEOC says.
“It was unlawful to ignore deaf employees’ need for effective reasonable accommodations,” EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said in the agency’s June 4 statement announcing the lawsuit. “When employers violate the law, EEOC will hold them accountable,” she said.
“Employers must provide accommodations to deaf and hard-of-hearing employees, so that they can enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment, such as obtaining information disseminated at meetings and participating in meetings,” EEOC’s Mindy Weinstein said in the statement. Weinstein is the acting director of the agency’s Washington field office.
A Walmart spokesman told Bloomberg Law June 4 that the company doesn’t “tolerate discrimination of any kind.”
“We deny that we failed to provide Mr. Miles or Ms. Bland with reasonable accommodations,” Randy Hargrove said in an email. “Regarding their specific situations, Mr. Miles had been promoted at least twice while working at that store, including to the position of department manager, and we deny that Ms. Bland requested an interpreter. We will respond to the court as appropriate,” Hargrove said.
EEOC attorneys in Washington represent the commission. No attorney has filed an appearance yet for Walmart.
The case is EEOC v. Wal-Mart Stores E., Inc., D.D.C., No. 1:18-cv-01314, complaint filed 6/1/18.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)