For years, Walmart has taken heat–in the courts and the streets– for gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and a generally shitty record on worker rights. In the spring, the company made a half-assed attempt to be less awful by changing their policy to say pregnant workers may be eligible for a “reasonable accommodation” if they have “a temporary disability caused by pregnancy.”
But former Walmart employee Candis Riggins was fired–and lost her home–thanks to her pregnancy. After Riggins landed in the hospital multiple times because she worked in maintenance and had to carry around toxic chemicals all day, she asked to be temporarily moved behind the cash register–a reasonable accommodation if I’ve ever heard one. Her requests were denied and eventually she was fired, supposedly because of her absences, which her manager has assured her were acceptable. ThinkProgress reports:
On Thursday, she and A Better Balance, the National Women’s Law Center, and Mehri & Skalet, PLLC sent a letter to Walmart alleging that its policy is still out of compliance with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and requesting that it reinstate Riggins after she is recovered from childbirth, compensate her for the lost wages after she was fired, and “clarify and effectively implement its policies and procedures with respect to pregnant workers to ensure fair treatment and compliance with the law.”
In addition to violating the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the company may also be out of compliance with the new employer guidance for pregnancy discrimination issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. And it’s certainly out of compliance with basic standards for treating your employees fairly. Riggins says, ”I want a policy for all women, not just for me. We work really hard at Walmart… I just want it to be better.”
Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.