The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission has been on Wal-Mart’s case. We reported in a newsflash from October 12, 1998 that a disabled Wal-Mart worker was suing Wal-Mart for denying him a job transfer because of his disability (cystic fibrosis). Now the EEOC is suing Wal-Mart, accusing the company of using job questionnaires to screen out people who might be disabled. According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit claims that Wal-Mart violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The job questionnaire asks applicants to indicate if they need any “accomodations” to perform required duties. The EEOC explained that its against the law to ask about a disability before a job offer is made. Wal-Mart spokesmen responded by saying that the application question was designed to help applicants, not discriminate against them. “We didn’t want an applicant to give up their current job, come to work for Wal-Mart, and then find out that we couldn’t accomodate their needs,” said a company spokesman. Wal-Mart added that the objectionable question about disabilities had been removed from the application by in December of 1997, as a result of some legal challenges back then. But the EEOC claims in its lawsuit that Wal-Mart was still using the disability question in some of its stores this year. “Wal-Mart had assured the (EEOC) that they were no longer using the form,” an EEOC official told the AP. “We learned during our investigation that they continued to use it in various facilities in California, Texas, Arizona, and elsewhere.”
Wal-Mart employee’s handbook says: “We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. Not only is discrimination against our beliefs, it’s against the law.” Yet Wal-Mart has kept the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission busier than they should be.