Walmart settles same-sex couples discrimination lawsuit for $7.5 million

The store changed its policy in 2011, but was unable to provide health insurance benefits to same-sex couples

Insurance News

By Allie Sanchez

Leading retail chain Walmart has agreed to settle a same-sex discrimination suit levelled against the company in 2015 in a Boston court by employee Jacqueline Cote.

A local media report said Cote led the class suit, alleging that the store’s policy against extending health insurance benefits to the spouses of same sex couples violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the Equal Pay Act, and the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Law.

Cote’s legal spouse was saddled with $150,000 in medical bills following treatment for ovarian cancer and Cote claims that Walmart refused requests to provide coverage for her wife.

Highbury Clock reported Cote as saying, “I’m pleased that Walmart was willing to resolve this issue for me and other associates who are married to someone of the same sex.”

The report further said that the settlement will cover damages for more than 1,000 complainants, who are workers for the store’s US and Puerto Rico branches named in the lawsuit.

"We’re happy both sides could come together to reach a resolution,” Sally Welborn, Walmart’s senior vice president of Global Benefits, was quoted as saying in the report.

Walmart changed its spousal benefits policy in 2011, and the complainants’ ranks include those who were denied spousal benefits between 2011 and 2014 for their same sex partners.


Related stories:
Wal-Mart sued for denying health benefits to gay employee
Senate approves key gay rights bill with insurance applications


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