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Walmart Refused to Accommodate Deaf Employees, US Lawsuit Says

2 min read

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing Walmart Inc. of Bentonville over alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The suit says that a Walmart store in Olathe, Kansas, hired two deaf employees as overnight stockers but refused to make accommodations for their disabilities. The workers required an interpreter for communica­tion during key times, such as orientation, training and meetings. They also needed day-to-day tasks to be communicated in writing.

According to the EEOC, Walmart refused to hire a qualified person to serve as an interpreter and management routinely refused to communicate with the two employees in writing. The agency said the employees were forced to quit because of Walmart’s refusal to provide effective, on-the-job communication.

The EEOC said it sued after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement with Walmart. It’s seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the employees, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.

Walmart, which has been sued three times by the EEOC this year for alleged ADA violations, said in a statement, “We have been a top employer for those with disabilities for years. We don’t tolerate discrimination of any kind and take allegations like this seriously. We are reviewing the complaint and will respond in court as appropriate.”

The retailer was sued in June after firing an employee who missed work due to her seizure disorder. In March, the EEOC sued Walmart for firing an employee who missed work due to Crohn’s disease, a chronic condition.

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