Disability News Service, Resources, Diversity, Americans with Disabilities Act; Local and National.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


A former employee of a New York Walmart says she was unlawfully disciplined and terminated because of her disability.

as published by Top Class Actions, by Paul Tassin  | Jan. 3, 2017
Plaintiff Mary L. says that after more than nine years of employment, Walmart suddenly fired her and took back its contributions to her 401k savings plan, all because her disability made her work slower than other employees.

She is raising claims for discrimination and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA.

Mary suffers from Turner Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that can cause many different problems like heart defects, learning disabilities, short stature, bone structure defects, and social adjustment problems. Individuals with Turner Syndrome generally need ongoing medical care throughout their lives.

Because of her condition, Mary developed scoliosis at a young age and stopped growing when she was only 4’7” tall. She also has swollen hands, a heart murmur and a minor nonverbal learning disability. According to the ADA lawsuit, Turner Syndrome limits Mary’s physical movements and causes her to move more slowly.

For most of the nine and a half years she worked at Walmart, Mary’s disability caused no significant problems at work. She starting working for Walmart in Lowville, N.Y. in November 2005, initially in the bakery and sometimes helping out in the deli department.

At the time she was hired, Walmart was fully aware of her disability, she claims. Mary says her supervisors regularly allowed her extra time to complete her assigned tasks to compensate for the way her disability slowed her down.

Mary says that for nine years she had a strong track record of good performance on the job, and her annual Walmart performance evaluations were all positive.

But in 2014, she says, a new assistant manager began to confront her about her slower pace and the extra time she needed to complete tasks.

In May of that year, Mary says she submitted a written request for a reasonable accommodation, asking for an extra 30 minutes per shift in which to complete her work. Walmart denied that request about a month later, offering no reasons or evidence to support the denial, she says.

Furthermore, Mary claims within a few weeks of that denial her supervisors began to pepper her with additional warnings and coaching in excess of what she had received in the previous nine years of her Walmart employment. Her performance reviews went from “solid performance” to “needs improvement” and “unsatisfactory,” she claims.

With no particular warning, Mary says Walmart terminated her employment in April 2015.

In addition to losing her job, Mary also says she lost valuable benefits. Upon her termination, Walmart allegedly withdrew all the funds it had contributed to her 401k savings plan over the nine-plus years she worked there – an amount totaling more than $12,000.

Mary further claims she lost the shares of Walmart stock that she had been able to buy with paycheck deductions. In addition, the lawsuit states that Mary lost her company-sponsored health insurance and now relies on Medicaid for her health care. She has also had to file for bankruptcy.

Mary argues the discipline and termination she was subject to constitutes unlawful disability discrimination in violation of Title II of the ADA. She accuses Walmart of unlawfully retaliating against her for requesting a reasonable accommodation.

She is asking the court for an award of damages and all other relief available under the ADA, including reimbursement of her attorney’s fees.

The plaintiff is represented by attorney Stephen Ciotoli of O’Hara O’Connell & Ciotoli.

The Walmart Employee Disability Discrimination Lawsuit is Mary L. v. Wal-Mart Stores East LP, Case No. 7:16-cv-1544, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.

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