Walmart Seeks New Trial Over Dismissal Of Employee

Walmart Inc has requested a new trial on claims it unlawfully dismissed a long-serving employee with Down syndrome when she could not adjust to a new schedule. The request follows the retailer successfully slashing a $125 million jury verdict in the case.

In a Tuesday court filing, Walmart said the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had failed to demonstrate that the retailer was aware of the link between the employee’s disability and the attendance issues that led to her firing. This is required to prove that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been violated. 

Walmart asked US District Judge William Griesbach to grant it judgement as a matter of law or to order a new trial. 

Last year, the employee in question, Marlo Spaeth, was awarded $125 million, though this figure was later lowered by Griesbach to $300,000 because of the cap damages under the ADA.  

For 15 years, Spaeth was employed by Walmart’s Manitowoc store in Wisconsin, where she had a regular 12pm to 4pm shift. However, in late 2014, the retailer implemented a computerised scheduling system, which led to Spaeth’s hours varying, despite her requiring a rigid schedule due to her disability. Spaeth allegedly missed work or left early on several occasions before she was fired. 

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