Monday, May 15, 2017

Walmart Proposes a Paltry Settlement of Employee Same-Sex Marriage Litigation

Walmart Store
Monday, a federal court in Boston will consider the fairness of Walmart's proposed settlement of $7.5 million dollars for denying benefits to same-sex spouses. Hopefully a federal judge will concur that this is grossly insufficient.

In 2015 a class action was brought against Walmart for denying benefits to same-sex couples. The named plaintiff in the action is Jacqueline Cote, an employee at a Walmart in Swansea, Massachusetts. Cote was legally married to Diana Smithson yet Walmart refused to provide insurance coverage. Smithson died of ovarian cancer and left $150,000 in unpaid medical bills.

Walmart did change their policy in 2013. By then Smithson had already died. Arguably the lack of insurance is the proximate cause of her death. It is the actual cause of the unpaid medical bills. Walmart can — and should — do better for employees who were discriminated against.

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