Walmart should face allegations of age and incapacity discrimination

A federal judge in Texas gave a green light to a trucker to proceed with his lawsuit against Walmart alleging the retailer of age and disability discrimination.

In April, Justice Amos Mazzant of East Texas Federal District Court denied Walmart’s motion to dismiss a driver lawsuit against the company. The driver, Gregory Scott Bills, claims Walmart violated the Age Discrimination at Work Act, the Disabled Americans Act, and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

According to the court order, Bills is a seasoned trucker with nearly 40 years of experience. He has been driving for Walmart in Sanger, Texas, since September 2011. About seven years later, Bills had rotator cuff surgery for shoulder repairs.

While Bills was on vacation under the Family and Sick Leave Act, Bills was told by managers and HR staff at Walmart that if he did not return to work, he could lose his job. The driver had provided Walmart with medical information during his vacation. Additionally, Bills had personally paid for his insurance from January to June 2019 after being directed by a manager to keep his job.

Bills’ surgeon informed him that a second operation was needed. Bills passed this information on to Walmart’s Human Resources department. According to the complaint, Human Resources assured Bill that his job would be safe and that he would not have to worry about losing him due to medical leave. However, another HR representative told Bills that his employment relationship would be terminated if he was on vacation for more than a year.

Just two weeks before Bill’s year-long vacation, his surgeon released him to return to work without restrictions.

Walmart then sent him to get a physical ministry of transportation because of his high blood pressure, Bills claimed. Walmart’s DOT certified doctor told the trucker he couldn’t happen because he had sugar in his urine and that he should see his family doctor to resolve this issue. His doctor said the sugar and high blood pressure were the result of stress and prescribed medication.

A week after taking the new drug, Bills returned to Walmart’s DOT doctor to see another doctor. The doctor refused him a new DOT card because of high blood sugar. Bills felt he could drive if he took medication despite diabetes, pre-diabetes or some other problem. However, the rejection was based on the Walmart policy, not the DOT policy. Bills should return in a week. However, Bills visited another doctor who passed his physical one.

Bills went to Walmart’s regional manager to express that the Walmart doctors were deliberately trying to find reasons to refuse his DOT health card. According to Walmart guidelines, drivers must obtain their DOT doctor from a company doctor, not an outside DOT-certified doctor.

Bills played the system and instead went to a Walmart doctor in another city and passed that exam.

However, managers told Bills that he could only go to the local Walmart doctor for medical clearance.

After verifying that Bills had been cleared to see another Walmart doctor, the general manager turned and said the medication was entered on the form and needs to be handwritten. Therefore, Bills had to go back to this doctor, who was more than 300 miles away, and have the paperwork repeated.

Bills returned to the other Walmart doctor’s office, where he was informed that the doctor was not there and would be in a different location the next day. The next day, Bills went to this office, but the doctor never showed up. In his complaint, Bills alleges that his inability to find the doctor who approved his physical exam was not accidental. He was told to come back another day.

When Bills returned home to notify the general manager of the delay, he was told that no third doctor was needed as he had already failed two. Bills had 30 days to take a non-driving position at Walmart, effectively ending his trucking career within the company.

According to the complaint, Walmart fired Bills for failing to return from medical vacation on time.

The driver also claimed that Walmart prevented him from getting a trucking job with Martin Transportation.

In addition, Bills claimed that younger drivers were treated more cheaply and less audited than him at Walmart. He filed a lawsuit in January.

In February, Walmart filed a dismissal request on the grounds that Bill’s deliberate infliction of an emotional stress claim should be dismissed. In particular, the retailer alleged that the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, the state version of Title VII, anticipated federal law. In essence, Texan law states that a person cannot make a deliberate infliction of emotional stress when other legal solutions are available. The court disagreed.

“The facts that support Bills’ intentional infliction of emotional distress claims – having to get multiple physical items and drive back and forth to Katy to get records – are different from the facts that support his wrongful termination claims,” ​​the court said. “Accordingly, the application for dismissal should be denied.”

Invoices can proceed with his lawsuit, in which legal proceedings are requested for an unspecified amount of damages. LL

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