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Pregnant And Working At Walmart

Pregnant and Working at Walmart

Candis Riggins, former Walmart worker was featured on CNN telling her story of pregnancy discrimination. Click on Part 5–Discrimination to view the video.

A Better Balance and our partners are holding Walmart accountable for mistreating pregnant workers.

ABB, the National Women’s Law Center, and Mehri & Skalet, PLLC, and Sedey Harper & Westhoff filed a nationwide class action lawsuit  against Walmart for discrimination against pregnant workers in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. This lawsuit grew out of two charges of discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2014.

“In 2017, it’s incredible that major companies like Walmart are discriminating against pregnant women—who are simply asking to keep on working and have a healthy pregnancy,” said Dina Bakst, Co-Founder & Co-President of A Better Balance. “Pregnancy discrimination is a huge problem that disproportionately affects low-wage workers, like those at Walmart.”

One of the two named plaintiffs, Talisa Borders, was a Walmart sales associate who was seven months pregnant when Walmart refused to accommodate her restrictions despite routinely accommodating workers with a wide array of non-pregnancy-related disabilities. Walmart pushed Ms. Borders onto unpaid leave. The second of the two named plaintiffs, Otisha Woolbright, was denied accommodations for heavy lifting during her pregnancy and was ultimately fired because of her pregnancy. See our press release here.

What happened to these pregnant workers was not an isolated incident. In fact, Walmart’s written Accommodation in Employment policy explicitly treated pregnant workers like second-class citizens, denying them accommodations available to employees with disabilities or who were injured on the job in violation of the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). We will not stop fighting until justice is served.

Need Help?

If you, or someone you know works at Walmart and has experienced problems at work while pregnant, please call A Better Balance at 615-915-2417.

In the News

Background

  • A Better Balance has been fighting Walmart due to their discriminatory practices since January of 2013, when we sent a letter  to their General Counsel raising concerns about how they treated their pregnant workers based on what we were hearing on the ground.
  • In December 2013, two worker shareholders and OUR Walmart members submitted a proposal to shareholders calling on Walmart to publicly commit to ending its illegal treatment of pregnant workers. They worked with A Better Balance and the National Women’s Law Center to craft their shareholder proposal. They submitted their proposal in December 2013 for inclusion in the shareholder proxy materials for the Walmart 2014 annual meeting of shareholders. They withdrew the proposal in March after receiving a copy of the newly adopted policy from Walmart. Click here to read more information about the shareholder resolution.
  • Walmart’s 2014 Accommodation in Employment policy now explicitly states that temporary disabilities caused by pregnancy are eligible for the same reasonable accommodations as other disabilities. However, ABB immediately raised concerns about this new policy as well.
  • In December 2014, A Better Balance and our partners filed another charge of discrimination under Walmarts new policy on behalf of Candis Riggins—a Walmart associate who was forced to risk her health while she was pregnant. Her doctors told her to avoid the harsh chemicals she had to use when cleaning Walmart’s bathrooms, but her managers refused to transfer her to another position, like a cashier position, even as they hired new cashiers. Since Candis’ mistreatment occurred after Walmart’s policy change, it is clear that there is still much work to be done. Click here to read our press release and click here for the redacted EEOC charge.
  • In December 2017, A Better Balance and our partners filed another charge of discrimination under Walmart’s new policy on behalf of Whitney Tomlinson—a Walmart associate who was forced to risk her health while she was pregnant. Click here to read our press release and click here for the redacted EEOC charge.
  • In July 2018, A Better Balance filed a class-action lawsuit challenging Walmart’s “no-fault” absence control policy as systemically violating the rights of women who need leave for pregnancy-related illnesses or medical care.  We filed on behalf of two former Walmart employees who were fired—in violation of New York state law— after Walmart deemed their pregnancy-related hospital visits “unauthorized.” It is the first class action brought under the New York law. Click here to read our press release and click here for the complaint.

 

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