A new report from the workers advocacy group A Better Balance alleges that Walmart consistently punishes employees for taking sick days, even if they have proper documentation from doctors.
According to the New York Times, A Better Balance has reportedly filed a complaint and a lawsuit against Walmart claiming that the company discriminates against pregnant workers and is violating the Disabilities Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, both of which were disputed by the company.
In a NYT interview the cashier Katie Orzehowski, who works at a Walmart in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, recounted trying to excuse missed shifts due to a miscarriage last fall using doctors’ notes and hospital records with no success. She had to go back to work out of fear of being fired, even though she was still bleeding.
According to Orzehowski, managers and supervisors “straight up tell you, ‘we don’t accept excuses,’” even though Walmart has written guidelines for how employers should respond to medical absences.
According to the New York Times Walmart has not reviewed the report, which includes a survey of over 1,000 employees, but disputes the claims. “We understand that associates may have to miss work on occasion, and we have processes in place to assist them” a spokesman for Walmart Randy Hargrove told the newspaper.
This is far from the first time that Walmart has been criticized and sued for mistreating employees. In 2001 the company was sued for sexual discrimination. In 2012 Walmart was fined by the Labor Department for denying workers overtime and the company was sued in 2015 for the same reason. The company has also been accused of wage theft several times.