EEOC Sues Wal-Mart for Age Discrimination

March 12, 2014 (PLANSPONSOR) – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has initiated a lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores of Texas, LLC, alleging both age and disability discrimination.

According to the suit (case number 3:14-CV-00908-M) filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, a store manager was subjected to harassment, unequal treatment and discharge because of his age.

David Moorman, the manager of a Keller, Texas, Walmart store, who was 54 at the time, was allegedly ridiculed with frequent taunts, about his age, from his direct supervisor. The supervisor called Moorman “old man” and the “old food guy” and derided him with ageist comments such as, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

The EEOC further alleges that, after enduring the abusive behavior for several months, Moorman reported the harassment to Wal-Mart’s human resources department. The EEOC contends that not only did Wal-Mart fail to take any corrective action, but the harassment increased and the store ultimately fired Moorman because of his age.

The suit also alleges that Wal-Mart unlawfully refused Moorman’s request for a reasonable accommodation for his disability. On the advice of his doctor, Moorman, a diabetic, requested reassignment to a store co-manager or assistant manager position. Wal-Mart refused to consider his request for reassignment, eventually rejecting his request without any dialogue or consideration.

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) which prohibits discrimination on the basis of age 40 or older, including age-based harassment. It also violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects employees from discrimination based on their disabilities and requires employers to provide disabled employees with reasonable accommodations.

The EEOC suit seeks injunctive relief, including the formulation of policies to prevent and correct age and disability discrimination. The suit also seeks damages for Moorman, including lost wages and an equal amount of liquidated damages for Wal-Mart’s willful conduct. The EEOC will also seek damages for harms suffered as a result of the non-accommodation.