Cancer Survivor Receives $75K after Alleging that Company Refused to Accommodate Her
Wal-Mart employee with physical limitations says she was forced to stand
Fighting cancer is hard enough, but for many working people, dealing with
the disease is only the beginning of the fight.
For far too many Americans, being employed while having a serious illness
comes with its own battles. Often, people require accommodations so they
can remain on the job.
Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for workers to be denied those accommodations,
even when doing so may violate federal law.
Let’s took a look at how a recent case played out and then discuss
what it means to you.
Nancy Stack was fighting bone cancer. Because of weakness in one of her
legs, she asked if she could use a chair while working as a fitting room
attendant at a local Wal-Mart. Her request was granted.
As Stack’s cancer treatments progressed, she began to find it difficult
to work an entire shift. She requested a modified schedule that would
allow her to work for shorter periods. Again, the company complied.
However, several months later, Stack says that her scheduling accommodations
In addition to that, Stack says she was told that if she still needed to
use a chair while working in the fitting room, she’d need to go
to the furniture department to retrieve one. This task proved to be extremely
difficult for Stack because of her physical limitations.
Hide and seek
But then things got even worse. Stack claims she was transferred from working
in the fitting room to a greeter position. That job required her to stand
near the front door and greet customers as they arrived.
Stacks also alleges that several of her coworkers imitated her limp, called
her names, and repeatedly hid her chair. She says she complained to management
but nothing was done.
Stack complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC),
which sued on her behalf. It alleged that Wal-Mart discriminated against
Stack because of her disability.
Rather than have to defend itself against Stack’s allegations in
court, the company decided to settle. It must pay Stack $75,000.
What the law says
The ADA provides protection from discrimination for workers who may require
job accommodations. It directs that companies must engage in an interactive
process with workers to determine the appropriate accommodations.
However, businesses may deny accommodations that would pose a hardship.
For example, companies would generally not be expected to adopt accommodations
that would disrupt their business operations.
In this case, since the company had allowed Stack’s accommodations
for several months before revoking them, it would’ve been tough
to prove a business hardship in court.
Contact us today
If you believe that your rights under the ADA have been violated, it’s
a good idea to speak to an attorney.
Call or email us today to discuss your unique situation.