Spaeth had worked for the company for approximately 16 years and had consistently received positive performance evaluations from her managers, according to evidence presented at trial. The jury also found that Walmart turned down Spaeth’s later request to be rehired because of her disability or because of their need to accommodate her disability.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination based on an employee’s disability. The EEOC filed its lawsuit (EEOC v. Walmart Stores East LP, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Case No. 17-cv-70) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.
The jury awarded Spaeth $150,000 in compensatory damages and $125,000,000 in punitive damages after deliberating for three hours following the four-day trial.
“The substantial jury verdict in this case sends a strong message to employers that disability discrimination is unacceptable in our nation’s workplaces,” said EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows. “All of those who come forward to ensure the right to a workplace free of discrimination do a service to our nation. Thank you to them and to my colleagues at the EEOC whose excellent work investigating and litigating the case made this important verdict possible.”