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story.lead_photo.caption In this Oct. 5, 2007, file photo, an American flag flies in front of the Walmart Stores Inc. headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. (AP Photo/April L. Brown, File)

Walmart Inc. should be sanctioned and held in contempt for failing to give the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission "crucial" information in a lawsuit claiming the retailer discriminated against pregnant women at a Wisconsin distribution center, the agency said in a recent federal court filing.

The EEOC document, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, says Walmart failed to comply with a June 13 court order regarding discovery. Specifically, the Bentonville-based retailer only provided some of the requested information about nonpregnant employees who received "light-duty" assignments because of work-related injuries, the filing states.

"After engaging in lengthy delay tactics, Defendant has recently informed EEOC that it will not provide a complete response" to the agency's nine-part question concerning light-duty accommodations for injured employees, according to the filing. Walmart has provided the requested information on all but two parts of the question, the document states: the medical restrictions of each employee who received light duty, and the type of light-duty assignment each was given.

Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said Monday that the EEOC's claims "do not reflect the high ethical standards and careful and reasonable approach we take in litigation, including this case. We take our discovery obligations seriously, and believe we have complied with the Court's rulings related to document disclosure."

The case is Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, d/b/a Wal-Mart Distribution Center #6025.

The lawsuit, filed in September 2018, says Walmart violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by failing to accommodate Alyssa Gilliam's pregnancy-related medical restrictions in 2015 with job modifications such as light-duty assignments.

As a result, Gilliam lost her benefits, had to reduce her hours and was forced to take unpaid leave, the suit states.

The suit includes a class of other women who were pregnant while working at the warehouse in Menomonie, Wis., between 2014 and October 2017.

The EEOC's suit asks the court to order Walmart to comply with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act; provide back pay with interest to the plaintiffs; and pay compensation for past and future losses resulting from noncompliant practices, in amounts to be determined at trial. It also seeks punitive damages.

Walmart also faces class-action lawsuits in New York and Illinois on behalf of thousands of pregnant employees at its stores. The retailer has denied all the allegations.

Business on 10/08/2019

Print Headline: Filing: Walmart not complying in suit

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