Wal-Mart sued for failing to help pregnant employees

(Bloomberg) –Two former employees of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. sued the discount retailer , alleging they were not assigned lighter duties while pregnant and saying the conduct is part of a company-wide pattern of discrimination.

Talisa Borders and Otisha Woolbright seek to represent thousands of current and former Wal-Mart workers in a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed Friday, alleges that Wal-Mart’s disability policy excludes pregnant workers.

The lawsuit covers up to 48,000 pregnant women who may have been denied concessions from March 19, 2013 to March 2014, when the company implemented a new policy, said attorney for the plaintiffs Cyrus Mehri.

“The policy of Wal-Mart changed while we were looking into it,” Mehri said in an interview Monday. “It didn’t completely fix it. The new policy doesn’t guarantee rights. The old policy guaranteed you didn’t have those rights.”

Wal-Mart denies the plaintiffs’ allegations and the characterization of their policies, said Randy Hargrove, a company spokesman.

“Our policies have always met or exceeded state law and federal,” he said. Company policy “has long categorized pregnancy as a protected status,” Hargrove said. The Borders and Woolbright lawsuits are not entitled to a class action settlement, he said.

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