Judge rejects Walmart’s request for new trial after firing of employee with Down syndrome

by | Nov 9, 2022 | Business

Marlo Spaeth (left) was fired from Walmart in July 2015, after working there for nearly 16 years. Her sister, Amy Jo Stevenson, has been in a legal battle with the retail giant since then. She filed a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.Amy Jo StevensonA federal judge has rejected Walmart’s request for a new trial after a jury found the retailer discriminated against a longtime employee with Down syndrome by refusing to adjust her schedule and firing her.In a court filing on Monday, the judge stood by the July 2021 ruling. A jury found that Walmart violated the law by terminating Marlo Spaeth, an employee who folded towels, tidied aisles and helped customers for nearly 16 years in a Walmart Supercenter in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.It ordered Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, to pay more than $125 million in damages — one of the highest ever for a single victim won by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The federal agency filed the disability discrimination suit on Spaeth’s behalf.Damages were reduced by the judge to $300,000, the maximum allowed under the law.The judge also ordered Walmart earlier this year to give Spaeth more than $50,000 in back pay and immediately rehire her, if she is interested in the job.The judge’s denial is the latest in a seven-year battle between Spaeth’s family and Walmart.”The court has concluded that a reasonable jury could find that Walmart was aware that Spaeth needed an accommodation because of her disability,” Judge William Griesbach wrote in the Monday court filing. “The jury was well situated to answer that factual question, and this court will not disturb that conclusion.”Spaeth’s sister, Amy Jo Stevenson told CNBC on Wednesday that the judge’s ruling is a relief. Yet she said she is still looking for closure.Spaeth’s firing permanently shook up their lives and took away her sister’s sense of purpose, Stevenson said. Spaeth has also struggled with …

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