Walmart was hit with a class action lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Friday.
The suit alleges that women workers at a Walmart warehouse in Menomonie, WI were the victims of pregnancy discrimination. According to the filing, Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, refused requests for accommodations, including taking a lighter workload during pregnancy. Instead, the retail giant forced the pregnant warehouse workers to take unpaid leave, according to Reuters. The EEOC, the agency that filed the class action in a Wisconsin federal court, enforces federal laws about workplace discrimination.
The employees are seeking punitive damages, back pay, and measures that will correct Walmart’s policies about pregnancy going forward.
Walmart denies the allegations, saying the company is compliant with state and federal regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. “We do not tolerate discrimination, and we support our associates by providing accommodations every day across all of our stores, clubs, distribution centers and offices,” a company spokesperson said in a statement, according to CNN. “This case is not suitable for class treatment, and we deny the allegations.”