It only took Jamey Stern eleven years to win her lawsuit against Wal-Mart. The company agreed this week to settle Stern’s discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart by paying her $220,000. Stern had a job interview to get rehired with a Wal-Mart in Green Valley, Arizona in 1991, where she had worked before. She was pregnant at the time of her interview. After she was interviewed for the job, she was told by Wal-Mart to “come back after you’ve had the baby.” This response violates a 1978 federal law banning job discrimination based on pregnancy. Stern told the Arizona Republic newspaper she thought Wal-Mart’s response was “horrible.” “One of the reasons I went back to work was because I was pregnant, so we could get some money.” Stern said. She turned to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to help her pursue her lawsuit. “Sometimes employers don’t take pregnancy discrimination as seriously as other kinds of discrimination,” EEOC’s regional attorney told the Arizona Republic. “It is illegal to refuse to hire a woman because she is pregnant,” the EEOC said. If a woman’s pregnancy prevents her from actually doing a job, then a company has some reason to refuse the applicant. But in this case, Stern wanted to be a Wal-Mart Greeter, a job she had done before. The Stern case went through three trials before it finally was settled. In the last trial the 9th. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that Wal-Mart actually made up stories about Stern. In the third trial last spring, the court found that Wal-Mart “fabricated” a story that Stern had withdrawn her application, that she had expressed doubts about her ability and desire to do the Greeter’s job, and that she had asked for limited hours on her application. All those stories were made up by Wal-Mart, the court ruled. After that ruling, Wal-Mart apparently decided it was time to settle the case. In the intervening eleven years, Jamey Stern has decided that she no longer wants to be a Greeter at Wal-Mart. She went back to school and is now a teacher in Arizona.
According to walmartlitigation.com, Wal-Mart is “the most sued retailer” in America. The company reported nearly 5,000 lawsuits were filed against it in 2001, a rate of roughly one lawsuit every two hours. Jury verdicts come in at a rate of 6 per day. This makes Wal-Mart the second most sued entity in the U.S., second only to the federal government, according to USA Today.