St. Louis Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of a job applicant who claimed he wasn’t hired because he is disabled with cerebral palsy, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said Thursday.
In a suit filed in 2004 by the EEOC, Steven J. Bradley Jr. claimed he was questioned during an interview in 2001 for a job at a new Wal-Mart Supercenter in Richmond, Mo., about his ability to work in his wheelchair. Ultimately, he was not hired.
The EEOC lawsuit claimed Wal-Mart violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2005, a federal judge in Kansas City granted summary judgment to Wal-Mart, saying that the EEOC didn’t present sufficient evidence on Bradley’s behalf. But last year, the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that ruling and allowed the lawsuit to proceed.
In addition to the financial settlement, Wal-Mart agreed to provide ADA training to managers at its Richmond store; notify job applicants about the settlement; and inform several Kansas City-area job service agencies that the company seeks to employ qualified persons with disabilities.
“This is an isolated situation that we wish had never happened,” said Daphne Moore, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart. “It has been resolved to the satisfaction of everyone involved. Wal-Mart is one of the largest employers of persons with disabilities, and our commitment to recruit and retain a diverse work force remains as strong as ever.”