Walmart (NYSE:WMT) Reaches $7.5 Million Settlement Over Discrimination Lawsuit

The Walmart Stores (NYSE:WMT) of United States has agreed to make a payment of $7.5 million for the settlement of a lawsuit where the business was charged with discriminating against gay employees. The settlement was reached last Friday.

How Walmart Discriminated Against Same-Sex Couples

According to the claims, the company was denying spousal health insurance benefits to their same-sex employees between 2011 and 2013.

Walmart denied these claims. However, Jacqueline Cote, on behalf of the employees, claimed that many of their employees were discriminated against, unfairly.

Cote is a former employee with the business that is controlled by the Walton family. The Massachusetts woman approached the court after she was repeatedly denied coverage for her wife.

She has now expressed her happiness that a settlement has finally been reached. “I’m pleased that Walmart was willing to resolve this issue for me and other associates who are married to someone of the same sex. It’s a relief to bring this chapter of my life to a close”, she said. Sally Welborn, senior vice president of Global Benefits, was also happy. “We’re happy both sides could come together to reach a resolution”.

Jacqueline Cote’s Lawsuit Against Walmart

In the lawsuit, Cote claimed that Walmart Stores (NYSE:WMT) was in violation of the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Law, Equal Pay Act, and the Civil Rights Act. Court documents revealed there were limitations in Walmart’s policies towards eligibility of spouses till 2014 when it was changed to include same-sex couples.

It was not clear immediately how many former or present employees of the company are going to be affected by this decision. Walmart Stores, however, said that they will have to pay “no more than a few thousand” employees at the most.

According to Fortune’s 500 list of 2016, Walmart is the largest company by revenue in the world. The business currently employs 2.3 million workers all around the world, out of which 1.4 million are in the United States.

The company is however still maintaining its position that there has been no discrimination. But according to the release, they still opted for the settlement, to resolve the dispute without further inconvenience, delay, and expenses.

But this is not the first time Walmart has been in trouble. In 2015 too, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued a ruling saying that the business was discriminating against same-sex couples in the same incident involving Jacqueline Cote.