Walmart revoked disabled SC worker’s electric cart, sent him home without pay, feds say

Amy Sancetta/AP

Federal officials have filed a lawsuit accusing Walmart of discriminating against one of its employees at a store in Aiken, South Carolina.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, Aug. 8, by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, says Walmart permitted a part-time sales associate with a disability to use one of the store’s motorized carts at work after his hiring, according to a news release from the EEOC.

But about seven months later, feds say, a different manager told the man he could no longer use it because the carts are only for customers’ use.

Feds said this occurred after the worker had already completed a probationary employment period while using the cart. Meanwhile, the EEOC said employees with temporary injuries were allowed to use them.

Walmart told the employee to get his own cart or transfer to another position at the self-checkout registers, feds said. Unable to obtain his own cart to perform the duties of his position, which included stocking shelves, and unable to perform the “duties of the self-checkout host due to his disability,” the man was sent home indefinitely and without pay, feds say.

“We don’t tolerate discrimination of any kind and provide reasonable accommodations to thousands of associates,” a Walmart spokesperson told McClatchy News. “We offered (the worker) a role as a self-checkout host and he declined the alternative position. We are reviewing the Complaint and will respond in Court as appropriate.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities.

“Walmart revoked a reasonable workplace accommodation that enabled [the worker] to perform the essential functions of his job despite his disability, and then failed to provide him with a reasonable alternative,” Melinda C. Dugas, a regional EEOC attorney, said in the news release. “Such conduct violates federal law.”

The EEOC is suing the corporation for monetary relief on behalf of the employee and for injunctive relief to end “any ongoing discrimination” and prevent similar misconduct in the future.

Aiken is about 60 miles southwest of Columbia.

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