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Wal-Mart accused of sexual harassment, disability discrimination

A new lawsuit has recently been filed by a former Wal-Mart employee citing sexual harassment. The lawsuit was filed against Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P., which is responsible for operating dozens of Wal-Mart stores in the eastern part of the United States.

The lawsuit claims that a female employee was sexually harassed by a male co-worker for nearly six years while working at Wal-Mart. The female employee had worked at Wal-Mart for more than 10 years in the lawn and garden department before she was fired by the store. The woman was fired after she filed a complaint about being harassed by a male co-worker, the lawsuit states.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced the new lawsuit against the retailer earlier this month. The EEOC stated that after reviewing the case, it discovered that Wal-Mart had violated several laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

According to the lawsuit, the woman who was fired for complaining about being sexually harassed also has a developmental disability. The EEOC has stated that the woman's developmental disability made her vulnerable to sexual harassment in the workplace, and as a result, the woman's employer should have reasonably accommodated her disability by making sure she received sufficient training about harassment and anti-harassment policies in the workplace. Because the woman's employer failed to do this, the woman endured years of harassment before she finally filed a complaint.

Within one month of filing the complaint, though, the woman was fired by Wal-Mart. The lawsuit states that Wal-Mart violated the employee's rights by firing her for complaining about her co-worker's inappropriate behavior. The lawsuit also claims that supervisors failed to put an end to the harassment when they became aware of the male employee's misconduct. The former female employee is now requesting compensation for lost wages and other damages.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "EEOC Sues Wal-Mart for Sexual Harassment, Retaliation and Disability Discrimination," April 10, 2013