According to Reuters, Otisha Woolbright and Talisa Borders had filed a lawsuit accusing Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) of treating thousands of pregnant employees as “second-class citizens” by denying requests to limit heavy lifting, climbing on ladders and other tasks that may be dangerous.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court on Friday in Illinois by Borders and Woolbright. The lawsuit was raised due to a policy that denied pregnant women accommodations as workers with other disabilities. The class action lawsuit will include a minimum of at least 20,000 women up to 50,000 who were employed at Wal-Mart while pregnant before the policy change in 2014.
The old policy had violated a federal law that required employees to treat pregnancy as a temporary disability and to provide work accommodations to pregnant women. Woolbright quoted her manager from a Florida Wal-Mart that had told her pregnancy was “no excuse” for not participating in heavy lifting. This led to her dismissal in the store’s deli department after injuring herself lifting trays that weight up to 50 pounds and voicing her deep interest about the company’s pregnancy policies.
Borders was previously employed at a Wal-Mart location in Illinois where she was chastised for asking coworkers to lift heavy boxes and climb letters because she was pregnant, and soon forced to go on unpaid leave. On her return, she stated that she was paid $2.00 less per hour.