The retail giant has agreed to pay $7.5 million dollars to gay employees whose spouses were denied benefits from 2011-2013.
A woman from Massachusetts, Jacqueline Cote, filed the lawsuit in 2015 after her wife was repeatedly denied benefits. The class action litigation includes a number of current and former employees, who were discriminated against prior to Walmart’s decision in 2014 to extend its benefits policy to same sex spouses. The lawsuit alleges that the corporation violated the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act and Massachusetts’ own Fair Employment Practices Law.
While Walmart continues to deny the claims, they did decide to settle “in the interest of resolving this dispute between the parties without the significant expense, delay and inconvenience of further litigation.”
The money will first go towards covering all legal expenses, and then the remaining funds will be divided among the individuals included in the lawsuit.
Sally Welborn, Senior Vice President of Global Benefits for Walmart, released a statement saying:
“Respect for the individual, diversity and inclusion are among the core values that made Walmart into the company that it is today. We will continue to not distinguish between same and opposite-sex spouses when it comes to the benefits we offer under our health insurance plan.”