EEOC Sues Wal-Mart for Refusal to Allow Handicap Parking

December 19, 2011 ( – Wal-Mart is being sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for failing to allow a disabled employee to use handicap parking spaces.

According to the lawsuit, Wal-Mart later fired the worker because of his disability and in retaliation for asserting his civil rights.

David Gallo worked at the Wal-Mart in Placerville, California,  starting in June 2003. During his six years at the store, Gallo’s successful performance was reflected in promotions from overnight stocker to manager of the store’s tire lube express bay, the EEOC said.

Gallo has atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that causes shortness of breath and difficulty walking. In March 2008, the new store manager barred Gallo from parking in the handicap parking spaces and any spaces close to the front of the store, despite the company’s knowledge that Gallo had a disability. Gallo filed a charge with the EEOC for Wal-Mart’s failure to accommodate his disability in September 2008. Eight months later, he was fired allegedly for an error made by a subordinate, even though the subordinate and the inspector who had reviewed his work were not discharged.

“Letting me park closer to my job was a little thing for Wal-Mart, but would have made a big difference to me,” stated Gallo. “The store manager made me move to the back of the parking lot, even after I showed him my handicap placard. I asked for a simple accommodation, and I lost my job over it.”

After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through conciliation, the EEOC filed the lawsuit (EEOC v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 2:11-AT-01806)  in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, and is seeking monetary damages on behalf of Gallo, training of Wal-Mart employees on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other steps to prevent future discrimination.