EEOC Recovers $150K in Suit Against Wal-Mart

$150,000 is a drop in the bucket for a company the size of Wal-Mart, but it is enough to make a lawsuit go away that focused attention on how it treated one of its managers.

As I wrote when the case was filed in March 2004, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had accused the retail giant of violating the rights of a manager at its store in Keller, Texas. According to the lawsuit, David Moorman, the 54-year-old store manager, was ridiculed with frequent taunts from his direct supervisor including “old man” and the “old food guy.” The supervisor also derided Moorman with ageist comments such as, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” After enduring the abusive behavior for several months, Moorman reported the harassment to Wal-Mart’s human resources department, the EEOC said. However, it charged, not only did Wal-Mart fail to take any corrective action, but the harassment got worse and the store ultimately fired Moorman because of his age.

As part of the same lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that the store also refused to discuss possible accommodations for his diabetes, either by making him a co-manager or assistant manager.

The settlement also commits Wal-Mart to provide training for employees on the ADA and the ADEA, to include instruction on the kind of conduct that may constitute unlawful discrimination or harassment, as well as an instruction on Wal-Mart’s procedures for handling requests for reasonable accommodations under the ADA.

So there’s a possible silver lining in the case.  If Wal-Mart is smart, it will use this settlement not just to correct conditions at this store but also to bring management up to speed at other stores at what types of conduct cross the legal line.

Read more from today’s settlement announcement.



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