Retail Giant Refused to Allow Job Applicant to Take Pre-Hiring Physical Assessment Test Due to Obvious Disability, Federal Agency Charged
ST. LOUIS - Wal-Mart Stores East, LP violated federal law when it declined a job applicant the opportunity to take a pre-hiring physical assessment test and did not hire the applicant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the lawsuit, the applicant, who was born with her right arm ending at the elbow, sought a Freight Handler position at Wal-Mart's Distribution Center in Ochelata, Okla. She had warehouse experience lifting items up to 200 pounds without the use of a prosthetic. The applicant successfully interviewed for the position and watched a video demonstrating the physical assessment test. When asked whether she needed an accommodation to take the assessment, the applicant declined. Wal-Mart nonetheless did not allow her to take the assessment without a prosthetic.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended (ADA). After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, the EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, Civil Action No. 4:19-cv-00524) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma. The agency seeks monetary damages, training on anti-discrimination laws, posting of anti-discrimination notices at the worksite, and other injunctive relief.
"This case is a clear example of an employer jumping to conclusions based on an applicant's obvious disability," said Andrea G. Baran, the EEOC's regional attorney in St. Louis. "This type of bias against workers with disabilities is exactly what the ADA was enacted to prevent."
L. Jack Vasquez, Jr., director of the EEOC's St. Louis District Office, added, "Employers cannot assume they know best whether a person with a disability can perform a job or needs an accommodation."
The EEOC's St. Louis District Office oversees Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and a portion of southern Illinois.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.