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EEOC: Walmart violates work protections for pregnant employees

Here comes another one.

Federal class action lawsuit, that is, targeting retail behemoth Walmart for alleged work-related discrimination against pregnant employees.

The case “is not suitable for class treatment, and we deny the allegations,” says a Walmart spokesperson.

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission begs to differ. In its recent federal filing, the agency asserts that the giant retailer’s failure to reasonably accommodate pregnant workers violates multiple federal laws. The EEOC seeks comprehensive relief for the affected workers, including back pay, punitive damages and what a recent Insurance Journal articles terms “non-monetary measures to correct Walmart’s practices going forward.”

The cited practices in the EEOC’s federal action filed in Wisconsin include the alleged company failure to secure pregnant employees the same light-duty benefits made available to other employees dealing with restrictions.

Agency officials assert that such disparate treatment is unlawful under both Title VII of the seminal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the rules adopted later in the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Pregnant workers must also be accorded protections similar to those provided workers under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Wisconsin litigation is far from being an isolated event. Walmart is currently the respondent in two additional class action complaints alleging workers’ pregnancy-linked discrimination claims. An Illinois lawsuit similarly charges the company with refusal to allow pregnant workers to participate in a light-duty program available to other employees. A New York filing centers on employee firings allegedly linked with their absences from work for medical reasons.

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