Walmart Pregnancy Accommodation wins in EEOC lawsuit confirmed (1)

Wal-Mart East LP Stores convinced the Seventh Circuit on Tuesday that its temporary light duty policy legally covers only workers injured on the job and does not unlawfully exclude pregnant employees.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed a lawsuit on behalf of employees at a Walmart distribution center in Wisconsin, did not show that non-pregnant workers who looked like Pregnant women in their ability or inability to work, including those injured outside of the workplace, were accommodated with light work, the court heard.

The EEOC was wrong to say that the retailer had to explain specifically why pregnancy was excluded under its temporary replacement policy, and not just why the policy was limited to people injured on the job, the US Court of Appeals said. United States for the Seventh Circuit.

According to Walmart, the policy was limited to workers injured on the job to help reduce its costs and exposure under the state’s workers’ compensation law, to boost employee morale, and for related purposes. This is sufficient according to the test established by the Supreme Court of the United States in 2015 in Young v. United Parcel Service Inc. to assess requests for pregnancy accommodation, Judge David F. Hamilton said.

He rejected the EEOC’s argument that employers must meet an increased filing burden at the second stage of the modified system of evidence provided for in Young.

The Second Circuit has previously ruled that meeting state workers’ compensation requirements is adequate justification to young people second stage, the judge said. “We agree,” he said.

Young specifically stated that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act does not give pregnancy “most favored nation status” in the workplace, the judge said.

The policy also excluded all other employees who were not injured on the job but who, such as those who were injured on the job and pregnant employees, were limited in their ability to work, Hamilton said. It was not true in Youngwhy the Supreme Court overturned the employer’s summary judgment in this case, Hamilton said.

Without evidence that pregnant workers were treated unfavorably compared to similar workers in their ability or inability to work, the EEOC could not discharge its charge at the third stage of young people diagram of evidence, said the Seventh Circuit.

The court also rejected the EEOC’s claim that two of the women it sought to prosecute were wrongfully excluded from the case as a discovery sanction.

The district court granted the agency’s request to audit the production of medical records for all of the women it sued on behalf of, but it missed discovery deadlines for these two workers despite warnings, said said Hamilton. The dismissal of the allegations relating to these two women as a sanction of discovery “was strong but reasonable medicine in the circumstances”, he said.

The EEOC also failed to demonstrate that it was wrongfully denied additional discovery, including with respect to Walmart’s decision to later change the temporary replacement policy to make pregnant workers eligible for work. temporary lightweights, Hamilton said.

Judges Daniel A. Manion and Michael B. Brennan joined in the opinion.

EEOC attorneys in Washington represented the commission. King & Spalding LLP represented Walmart.

The case is EEOC v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, 7th Cir., No. 21-01690, 8/16/22.

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