Walmart / Sam's Club Personnel Provider Refused to Accommodate Food Demonstrators with Disabilities, Federal Agency Charges
ST. LOUIS - Crossmark, Inc., a Plano, Texas-based sales and marketing services company that provides food demonstrators to Walmart and Sam's Clubs, violated federal law by discriminating against disabled employees, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today. The suit claims that Crossmark's failure to accommodate a nationwide class of qualified disabled workers who needed to use a stool violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Crossmark established a qualification standard permitting its ubiquitous employees who offer shoppers food samples at Walmart and Sam's Clubs stores to sit on stools for no more than ten minutes every two hours. For example, during the four years that Kathryne Guilfoyle worked directly for Sam's Club, doing food demonstration events part-time, she was permitted to use a stool as necessary because of her disability. However, when Crossmark took over doing such events in Guilfoyle's store and she asked for the same accommodation, Crossmark denied her request and she was fired. In addition to the illegal qualification standard, the EEOC also charges that Crossmark's policies for considering an employee's request to use a stool violated the ADA. During its investigation, the EEOC identified hundreds of employees, in addition to Guilfoyle, who were discriminated by Crossmark's qualification standard and procedures.
The EEOC filed its lawsuit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Crossmark, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:18-cv-1760), in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks monetary relief for each class member as well as a judgment and order requiring the company to implement policies and practices to prevent future discrimination.
"The ADA's mandates are clear," said EEOC St. Louis District Director James R. Neely, Jr. "Crossmark's failure to accommodate its employees with disabilities, when Walmart and Sam's Clubs were able to do so, is especially unacceptable."
Andrea G. Baran, the EEOC's regional attorney in St. Louis, added, "People with disabilities have the ability to contribute greatly to our workplaces and economy. When employers fail to give them the opportunity to do so, everyone suffers."
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The 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.