retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Boston Globe reports that a "federal judge approved a $7.5 million settlement Monday in a class-action lawsuit against Walmart that found the retail giant violated gender-discrimination laws for years when it denied spousal benefits to same-sex couples ... The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a New Bedford woman by the advocacy group GLAD. The settlement was based in large part on US Supreme Court rulings affirming the rights of same-sex couples to marry and, in an earlier ruling, their entitlement to federal spousal benefits."

A Walmart spokesman said that the company was "happy both sides could come together to reach a resolution . . . We will continue to not distinguish between same and opposite sex spouses when it comes to the benefits we offer under our health insurance plan."


Reuters reports that "two former Wal-Mart Stores Inc employees have filed a lawsuit accusing the retailer of treating thousands of pregnant workers as “second-class citizens” by rejecting their requests to limit heavy lifting, climbing on ladders and other potentially dangerous tasks.

"The proposed class action lawsuit was filed in federal court in Illinois on Friday by Talisa Borders and Otisha Woolbright, who say that until 2014, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart had a company-wide policy that denied pregnant women the same accommodations as workers with other disabilities. The class could include at least 20,000 women and possibly up to 50,000 who worked at Wal-Mart while pregnant before the policy change, according to the lawsuit."

According to the story, "The company in a statement provided by spokesman Randy Hargrove denied the women's claims and said Wal-Mart's pregnancy policies 'have always fully met or exceeded both state and federal law.' The company said a separate anti-discrimination policy it maintains has long listed pregnancy as a protected status."
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