Jury Awards $125 Million After Walmart Fires Woman With Down Syndrome

its a good example of how the Principle of nature and physics, that What Goes Around Comes Around, works. The story is further illustration that it (the principle) applies equally to single individuals, groups of people, companies large and small, governments and countries. In this case it is a huge company like Walmart stomping on not only an employee in good standing for 16 years, with an exemplary work record and many commendations, but also one with a Down Syndrome disability.

Out of the blue, the company suddenly insisted on changing Marlo Spaeth’s work schedule in a way that created hardship and distress for her. When she requested a return to her previous schedule for explainable reasons, Walmart doubled down and fired her. A supervisor took her work vest and escorted her out of the door of the store where she had worked for those16 years. Very callous and downright mean, right?.

Now if ever there was an employee you’d want to make an accommodation for it would be Marlo. But no! Walmart, responded in a shocking display of callous indifference to an employee with a disability who loved her job and had a sense of worth and accomplishment because of it. Anyone with a heart can imagine the hurt that it caused her.

Though I’m pulling for the $125 million recommended by the jury, I wonder what kind of points this earns Walmart on the corporate ESG ratings of “Diversity & Inclusion” that major pension funds use as a screen for good governance to decide which companies they want to invest in?” No not true! I don’t really wonder. Either way it is exceptionally nasty and a black eye that will have an impact on Walmart’s stock market valuation and public regard! In addition, heads should and most likely will roll because of this blunder. Hopefully the right ones, but not to worry. If some evade the responsibility for the anguish they caused Marlo this time, they will get theirs in due course and when they do, the longer they’ve evaded responsibility the deeper the pit will be!

That’s how it works!

BTW, The book & ebook are available on Amazon now and the audio book on Audible any minute!

Jury Awards $125 Million After Walmart Fires Woman With Down Syndrome
Walmart said the verdict would be reduced to $300,000, which is the maximum amount allowed under federal law for compensatory and punitive damages.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/18/business/walmart-down-syndrome-lawsuit.html?smid=em-share

Jury Awards $125 Million After Walmart Fires Woman With Down Syndrome

Walmart said the verdict would be reduced to $300,000, which is the maximum amount allowed under federal law for compensatory and punitive damages.

A federal jury found that Walmart had failed to provide a reasonable accommodation to a former worker who has Down syndrome even though she needed one and it would not have posed a hardship to the company.
Credit…Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters

Marlo Spaeth started working as a sales associate at a Walmart in Manitowoc, Wis., in 1999, folding towels, cleaning aisles, processing returns and greeting customers, her lawyers said. Over the next 15 years, she received several pay raises and positive performance reviews.

One manager wrote that she was “great with customers” and a “very hard worker.” Another manager wrote, “Marlo is a very friendly person and is a delight to have working here.”

But Ms. Spaeth’s hours suddenly shifted in November 2014, when Walmart instituted a computerized scheduling system, which the company said was based on customer traffic and was designed to ensure that enough people were working when the store was busiest.

Ms. Spaeth was expected to work from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., rather than her previous schedule of noon to 4 p.m., her lawyers said.

The abrupt change represented a significant hardship for Ms. Spaeth, who has Down syndrome and thrives on routine, her lawyers said. Ms. Spaeth repeatedly told a manager that she wanted her old schedule back, her lawyers said.

“She’s afraid she’s going to miss the bus,” her sister and guardian, Amy Jo Stevenson, said she had told a Walmart manager, according to court records. “She’s afraid she’s going to miss dinner. It’s upsetting to her. She gets too hot. She says she feels sick, and she can’t accommodate it, so we need it switched back for her.”

But the company refused to switch Ms. Spaeth back to her old schedule at the store, which was open 24 hours a day and had more than 300 employees, her lawyers said. Walmart then took disciplinary action against Ms. Spaeth twice for absenteeism and tardiness, her lawyers said.

On July 10, 2015, Walmart fired Ms. Spaeth for excessive absenteeism.

A Walmart training coordinator took Ms. Spaeth’s vest and walked her out of the store where she had worked for about 16 years. The training coordinator later testified that both she and Ms. Spaeth had been crying and that Ms. Spaeth had not understood what was happening, court records show.

Ms. Spaeth and her mother and sister met with Walmart managers and asked that she be rehired and allowed to return to her old schedule, her lawyers said. But Walmart refused to rehire her, even though her termination letter said she could be hired again, her lawyers said.

On Thursday, a jury in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, in Green Bay, found that Walmart had violated the Americans With Disabilities Act, which bans discrimination based on an employee’s disability, and awarded Ms. Spaeth $125 million in punitive damages and $150,000 in compensatory damages.

The jury, which deliberated for three hours after a four-day trial, found that Walmart had failed to provide Ms. Spaeth with a reasonable accommodation, even though she needed one because she has Down syndrome and it would not have posed a hardship to the company.

The jury also found that Walmart had fired Ms. Spaeth and then failed to rehire her because she has a disability.

“The jury here recognized, and apparently was quite offended, that Ms. Spaeth lost her job because of needless — and unlawful — inflexibility on the part of Walmart,” said Gregory Gochanour, a lawyer with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which had sued Walmart on behalf of Ms. Spaeth.

Walmart said in a statement that the verdict would be reduced to $300,000, which is the maximum amount allowed under federal law for compensatory and punitive damages.

“We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, and we routinely accommodate thousands of associates every year,” Walmart said. “We often adjust associate schedules to meet our customers’ expectations and while Ms. Spaeth’s schedule was adjusted, it remained within the times she indicated she was available.”

The company said that it was “sensitive to this situation and believe we could have resolved this issue with Ms. Spaeth.” It added, “However, the E.E.O.C.’s demands were unreasonable.”

An E.E.O.C. lawyer declined to comment, but the agency’s websitenotes that compensatory and punitive damages are capped at $300,000 for employers with more than 500 workers.

Walmart, which employs more than 2.3 million people around the world, is the nation’s largest private employer, with more than 1.6 million employees in the United States, according to its website.

Julianne Bowman, the Chicago district director at the E.E.O.C., said employers, no matter how large, had an obligation under the law to evaluate the individual circumstances of employees with disabilities when considering requests for reasonable accommodations.

“Ms. Spaeth’s request was a simple one and denying it profoundly altered her life,” Ms. Bowman said in a statement.

Dr. David Smith, a former program director at the Down Syndrome Clinic of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, said in court papers that people with Down syndrome need routines to manage their day and may not have the cognitive ability to adjust well to changes.

When Walmart changed Ms. Spaeth’s schedule, the stress of the change and the pressure she felt to adapt to her new hours may have thrown her off, he said.

People with Down syndrome “make very good employees if they have the right job and an understanding employer,” said Dr. Smith, who was an expert witness for the E.E.O.C.

“Their job becomes a major focus of their life, and gives them a sense of self-worth,” he said. “When Ms. Spaeth’s schedule was changed, she was unable to adapt to that variation.”


Kirkus Reviews, the gold-standard for independent & accurate reviews, has this to say about

What Goes Around Comes Around:

A stable, positive, non preachy, objective voice makes the book stand apart from others in the genre. A successful guide that uses anecdotes to reveal powerful truths about life.

~ Kirkus Reviews

“The author gives readers not just points or principles to ponder, but real human experiences that demonstrate them!
Kirkus Reviews

“I’ve read a number of books that focus on sharing a similar message, including “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, “The Answer” by John Assaraf & Murray Smith, “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, and I must say that I find Rob’s to be my favorite. – Sheryl Woodhouse, founder of Livelihood Matters LLC

Jury Awards $125 Million After Walmart Fires Woman With Down Syndrome

Jury Awards $125 Million After Walmart Fires Woman With Down Syndrome

Drake Bell Given Two Years of Probation

Drake must have felt a sense of empowerment, the big star over the impressionable fan. It’s been called intoxicating and at the right time and place, with the right profile of a fan it might indeed have been just a “good time!”

But when that person turned out to be a minor it was a whole other ballgame and now Drake is someone who has been charged with the felony of attempted child endangerment. It lead to a plea deal including financial penalties, probation with various conditions for a minimum of two years and registration as a sex offender!

Have to ask though as we always should, is it possible its not so black and white? Were there mitigating circumstances? Had Drake himself been a victim of child abuse? Was this a one-off mistake or just one of a series? Does it indicate a much deeper problem and need for help, but with the proviso to also keep him away from other potential victims?

A deeper analysis might answer those questions and let us have a dose of sympathy. But in the end, sympathy or not, he made the choices! He lured her in! He pounced!

There’s at least one thing we can be pretty sure he didn’t have, which is the insight that whether there seems to be someone watching or not, that there IS something taking note.That something is the universal Law of Cause & Effect which explains every action/reaction in the physical universe and nature, but also applies to all human thoughts, words and actions and their consequences.

In our time and culture, the common vernacular for this principle in action is the expression “What Goes Around Comes Around.” Most of us use those words, perhaps many times, but only when describing someone else’s misfortune. We didn’t understand at first, but when the facts came out we could see why it happened!

However another truth is that, what is so easy to see in others can be so hard to see in ourselves. Unfortunately for Drake, he didn’t either! If he’d only read the book I wrote with that title he might not be in this fix!

The former star of the Nickelodeon series “Drake & Josh” had pleaded guilty to two charges related to a girl he met online. She attended one of his concerts in 2017.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/12/arts/television/drake-bell-sentenced-child-endangerment.html?smid=em-share

Drake Bell Given Two Years of Probation

Drake must have felt a sense of empowerment, the big star over the impressionable fan. It’s been called intoxicating and at the right time and place, with the right profile of a fan it might indeed have been just a “good time!”

But when that person turned out to be a minor it was a whole other ballgame and now Drake is someone who has been charged with the felony of attempted child endangerment. It lead to a plea deal including financial penalties, probation with various conditions for a minimum of two years and registration as a sex offender!

Have to ask though as we always should, is it possible its not so black and white? Were there mitigating circumstances? Had Drake himself been a victim of child abuse? Was this a one-off mistake or just one of a series? Does it indicate a much deeper problem and need for help, but with the proviso to also keep him away from other potential victims?

A deeper analysis might answer those questions and let us have a dose of sympathy. But in the end, sympathy or not, he made the choices! He lured her in! He pounced!

There’s at least one thing we can be pretty sure he didn’t have, which is the insight that whether there seems to be someone watching or not, that there IS something taking note.That something is the universal Law of Cause & Effect which explains every action/reaction in the physical universe and nature, but also applies to all human thoughts, words and actions and their consequences.

In our time and culture, the common vernacular for this principle in action is the expression “What Goes Around Comes Around.” Most of us use those words, perhaps many times, but only when describing someone else’s misfortune. We didn’t understand at first, but when the facts came out we could see why it happened!

However another truth is that, what is so easy to see in others can be so hard to see in ourselves. Unfortunately for Drake, he didn’t either! If he’d only read the book I wrote with that title he might not be in this fix!

The former star of the Nickelodeon series “Drake & Josh” had pleaded guilty to two charges related to a girl he met online. She attended one of his concerts in 2017.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/12/arts/television/drake-bell-sentenced-child-endangerment.html?smid=em-share