Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will pay $250,000 to a pharmacy technician who suffered a disability resulting from a gunshot wound and was subsequently fired from one of its Harford County stores, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced yesterday.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart failed to accommodate technician Glenda Darlene Allen and then unlawfully fired her from the Abingdon store because of her disability, the EEOC said. Allen, who had worked as a Wal-Mart pharmacy technician at another store in Aberdeen since July 1993, was shot during a robbery at another job in 1994. The injury damaged Allen's spinal cord, resulting in an abnormal gait requiring the use of a cane, the EEOC said.
Allen, 41, said Wal-Mart remained a cooperative employer until she got a new pharmacy manager, who refused to accommodate her injuries, demoting her to door greeter in 2003. When Allen refused the demotion, Wal-Mart terminated her on April 8 of that year, said her attorney, Christopher Marts of Bel Air.
Wal-Mart's settlement with Allen includes $150,000 in compensation, plus $50,000 in back pay and $50,000 in attorney fees, said Maria Salacuse, the EEOC's senior trial attorney in Baltimore. Compensation in such individual discrimination cases is capped at $300,000, Salacuse said.
Allen's lawsuit was settled by the U.S. District Court in Baltimore shortly after it denied Wal-Mart's request to throw it out March 10, the EEOC said.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Daphne Moore defended the retailer's record yesterday, saying that it had a long and recognized commitment to employ people with disabilities.
"This is an isolated situation," Moore said. "We are pleased that it is resolved."
It is the EEOC's second settlement this year concerning Wal-Mart's violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. In April, a court ordered Wal-Mart to pay $300,000 for refusing to hire a job candidate with cerebral palsy in Richmond, Mo.