Court Takes Wal-Mart Disability Case
Washington, D.C. An Arkansas woman who claims Wal-Mart Stores Inc. discriminated against her after she became disabled has successfully appealed her case to the Supreme Court.
The justices said Friday they would rule on a lawsuit by Pam Huber, who remains a Wal-Mart employee. The case centers on how far employers must go under the Americans with Disabilities Act to accommodate disabled employees.
Specifically, the dispute is over whether Wal-Mart was required to provide Huber with an equivalent position after she could no longer perform her job due to disability, or whether the company simply had to allow her to compete for an equivalent job.
Huber was an order-filler in a Wal-Mart distribution center in Clarksville, Ark., earning $13 per hour, when she was hurt in April 2001 in an on-the-job accident. The company agreed she was disabled and no longer able to perform her current job.
Huber applied for a new job as a router, which paid $12.50, but the position was given to another employee Wal-Mart considered more qualified. Huber was offered a janitorial position that paid $6.20 an hour, her lawyers said in court papers.
Huber sued in June 2004, arguing that under ADA rules, she only had to be qualified for the equivalent position, not the most qualified, and should have been reassigned to the router job.
Wal-Mart said in court papers that the job went to the most-qualified candidate under a “standardized, legitimate, and non-discriminatory” process that is allowed under ADA rules.
QVC Names President, U.S. Commerce
West Chester, Pa. QVC, Inc. announced that Claire Watts will join the company effective Jan. 7, and will assume the role of president, U.S. commerce, effective May 1.
Watts joins QVC with 25 years of broad retail and merchandising experience. She spent the past ten years with Wal-Mart in various executive positions, most recently serving as executive VP of merchandising.
In her new position, Watts will oversee planning, programming, merchandising, broadcasting, TV sales, and QVC.com for the U.S. operation.
Safeway, Unions Reach Agreement
Pleasanton, Calif. Safeway and UFCW Northern California unions announced that they have reached an agreement.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 5, 8, 101 and 648 have reached a four-year collective bargaining agreement with Safeway, covering the company’s retail clerks, meat and deli personnel. According to Safeway, the unions will present the recommended settlement to their members for ratification in the coming weeks. Details of the settlements are being withheld by both the company and the unions until after ratification.