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Walmart to Pay $80K, Implement Nationwide Change in Disability Reassignment Policy

November 19, 2019

Walmart Inc. will pay $80,000 and implement nationwide changes to its same-store disability reassignment policy to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. Walmart violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to reassign a long- term employee at its Augusta, Maine, location to vacant positions in its Waterville or Thomaston, Maine, locations after she became disabled. The lawsuit alleged that the employee developed a disability that, according to Walmart, prevented her from continuing to work in a sales associate position in Augusta. Walmart determined that the only positions that could accommodate her disability were fitting room associate and people greeter. While there were no such positions vacant in Augusta, there were two fitting room associate positions open in Waterville and one in Thomaston. Walmart's policy, however, was to search for open positions only in the store where the employee had been working. Because of this, Walmart did not transfer the employee to the positions in Waterville or Thomaston. In prohibiting employers from discriminating based on disability, the ADA imposes a requirement that employees with disabilities be provided a reasonable accommodation, absent undue hardship on the employer: One of these accommodations is reassignment to a vacant position.