Over the years, Wal-Mart has had a revolving door relationship with the federal Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), the agency that brings charges of discrimination based on the federal Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Sprawl-Busters has documented these cases since at least 1998. The pattern — whether its racial, sexual or discrimination based on disability, is that EEOC brings a lawsuit on behalf of a Wal-Mart employee, they settle out of court, then the EEOC finds itself back in court when Wal-Mart does not comply with the court settlement. This week, the media was reporting another example of Wal-Mart’s treatment of the disabled. A 20 year old man from Centereach, Long Island, is in court charging that Wal-Mart demoted him from their pharmacy department because he has cerebral palsy. Patrick Brady says that one day after starting his job in the Wal-Mart pharmacy at the Centereach mall, that Wal-Mart demoted him to collecting carts and garbage in the parking lot. Brady had experience as a pharmacy assistant, but was forced to push shopping carts around the parking lot instead. His case will now go before a jury on February 14th in US District Court. Brady’s lawyer told Newsday that his client worked for two years at another pharmacy in Centereach. Wal-Mart told the newspaper that they “made every effort to accommodate Mr. Brady. And we did not terminate him. He simply did not come back to work.” The complaint filed with the court states that in August of 2002, when Brady began working at Wal-Mart, his supervisor in the pharmacy department “used a very short, terse tone in all of her interactions with him and did not appear to like him from the moment she first saw him.” When Brady asked the manager for a work schedule, he never got one. When he showed up for work, he was told to come back later in the week, “until they figured out what to do with him,” the complaint says. When Brady went to the personnel office at Wal-Mart, he was informed that the only job available was collecting carts and garbage in the parking lot. When Brady pushed for more answers, he was told that the pharmacist felt he “was not fit for the pharmacy job.” The company then assigned the disabled man to the frozen food section. After such treatment, Brady quit with less than a month on the job. His lawsuit was filed under the Americans With Disabilities Act and the New York State Human Rights Law.
On page 9 of the Wal-Mart employee’s manual it says: “We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. Not only is discrimination against our beliefs, it’s against the law.” And Wal-Mart might add: Discrimination is expensive. The company should know. Wal-Mart has lost a string of discrimination lawsuits brought against it by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to one EEOC regional lawyer, “Wal-Mart is a serious repeat offender of the ADA, certainly one of the most serious this office has encountered in this area.” For earlier stories on the topic of Wal-Mart employee discrimination, search Newsflash by “EEOC”.