Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) might soon face a judge over a class action lawsuit against it for denying same-sex spouse benefits.
The lawsuit scare comes just one month after the company publicly opposed a corporate “religious freedom” bill that was supposedly discriminating against the LGBT. Wal-Mart has been known as one of the biggest corporate that support same-sex marriages. It is thus unorthodox to see the same firm facing trial over a policy that denies benefits to those married to its gay workers.
Former Walmart employee Jacqueline Cote, claims the company declined to offer medical insurance to her wife who suffered from Ovarian Cancer and is now under hospice care. The incidence took place before 2014 when Walmart had not enforced its policy to offer benefits to same-sex spouses. Cote claimed that their medical bills had accumulated to more than $150,000 at the time. In one of her statements, Cote revealed that she pushed on with the lawsuit for her wife and as an encouraging gesture to other people who had suffered the same fate.
Cote stopped working for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) in 2008. She filed her complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2014. She claims to represent all the gay Walmart employees who were affected by the discrimination before the company changed its policy. Her plan is to make sure that the company adheres to the benefits that it offers same-sex couples based on the new policy.
So far, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) has not released any statements regarding the matter. The company claims that it has not yet been briefed on the details of the lawsuit. The company further added that it will not comment out of respect for Ms. Cote and that the benefits that it offered before 2014 were in line with the prevailing law at the time.
The situation has opened up inquiry on how the situation will be handled and whether the supreme court has legalized gay unions throughout all of the American States.