Wal-Mart settles lawsuit with federal government for alleged ADA violations

Tuesday, December 18th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A federal judge approved a $6.8 million settlement of a discrimination lawsuit involving Wal-Mart Stores and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In a press release, EEOC Chairwoman Cari M. Dominguez said Monday that approval by U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell in Sacramento, Calif., resolved the lawsuit against the retail chain.

The agency had accused Wal-Mart of using a pre-employment questionnaire that violated the Americans with Disabilities Act between Jan. 1, 1994, and Dec. 31, 1998. The questions sought too much information about the type of disability an applicant had, the government alleged.

Wal-Mart will pay $3.8 million for workers who were turned down and $3 million to a fund for those workers yet to be identified.

Also, the nation's largest retail chain agreed to abolish the questionnaire and institute several new or revised policies.

``We're pleased with it,'' said Bill Wertz, a spokesman for Wal-Mart. ``We think it is the beginning of a new and better relationship with the EEOC. We feel they understand we truly want to comply with the ADA and that if we have inadvertently done something wrong or caused a problem, we want to see it resolved''

The settlement also ends 12 other ADA lawsuits in North Carolina, Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas and Virginia.

In her statement, Dominguez said, ``Wal-Mart has been a very hands-on participant in drawing up this agreement and eliminating barriers for applicants and employees with disabilities.''