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(Reuters) — Walmart Inc. was sued Thursday by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency's second lawsuit this week accusing the largest U.S. retailer of discrimination against workers with disabilities.
The EEOC said Walmart illegally demoted an employee for missing too much work at a Raleigh, North Carolina, store because of seizures caused by his generalized convulsive epilepsy, and then illegally fired him for violating its attendance policy.
The lawsuit was filed three days after the EEOC sued Walmart for firing a deli worker in a Statesville, North Carolina, store because she had too many “unauthorized” absences related to her Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel condition.
Walmart did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the latest case.
In the latest suit, the EEOC said Walmart demoted the Raleigh store employee from general merchandise support manager to
deli sales associate in April 2018, one year after his seizures began, and fired him four months later after a supervisor had warned him to “watch” his absences.
It said the seizures caused the man to lose consciousness, bite his tongue or have bowel movements, and the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer should have accommodated his requests for time off.
“Employees with disabilities should be able to seek medical treatment without fear of losing their jobs,” EEOC lawyer Melinda Dugas said in a statement.
Both lawsuits accuse Walmart of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and seek back pay and punitive damages.