Last week, a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin yielded a substantial jury award against Walmart and in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a disabled former Walmart employee. The award included $150,000 in compensatory damages and $125 million in punitive damages. The jury found that Walmart violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it failed to accommodate the employee (a 16-year employee with Down Syndrome) by altering her work schedule, rejecting her reasonable scheduling request, and ultimately terminating her employment. Walmart has stated its intention to appeal.
Business Takeaway: Given the facts of this case, the verdict itself may not be all that surprising; however, it was the punitive damage award that garnered national attention. Contact Corey at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions regarding what constitute “reasonable” accommodations under the ADA.