March 12, 2014

EEOC suit says Wal-Mart discriminated against older Keller manager

Wal-Mart says David Moorman, former manager of a Keller store, was fired for his job performance, not because of age discrimination by his supervisor.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing Wal-Mart Stores of Texas, saying a 54-year-old former store manager in Keller was harassed and fired because of his age after enduring abusive behavior for several months.

The suit also accuses Wal-Mart of violating federal anti-discrimination law when the retailer refused the manager’s request for a reasonable accommodation for a disability.

Randy Hargrove, a spokesman in Wal-Mart’s Bentonville, Ark., headquarters said the retailer denies the EEOC assertions.

“Wal-Mart does not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” Hargrove said. “We ended Mr. Moorman’s employment for job performance.”

The suit does not specify the location of the Wal-Mart store, but the only Wal-Mart in Keller is a neighborhood market at 2130 Rufe Snow Drive. Other nearby Wal-Marts are located in Southlake, Watauga and north Fort Worth.

In the suit, the EEOC said David Moorman was frequently taunted by his direct supervisor, who called him an “old man” and the “old food guy,” and said, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

Moorman reported the harassment to Wal-Mart’s human resources department, but the EEOC said Wal-Mart failed to take corrective action, and the harassment increased. Moorman, a diabetic, also asked for reassignment to a store co-manager or assistant manager position at his doctor’s advice, but the request was denied without any consideration, the EEOC said.

Moorman was then fired, the suit states.

Hargrove said Moorman was let go in July 2011. Moorman was hired when he was 49 and promoted to store manager at age 53, and at one point had been granted a leave of absence that he requested, Hargrove said.

“We accommodated Mr. Moorman. We respectfully disagree with the allegations raised in the complaint,” Hargrove said.

Robert Camino, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Dallas, said “the open mockery and insulting of experienced employees who have committed themselves to work for a company are totally unacceptable. It’s unfortunate when supervisors and managers lose sight of the importance of valuing employees.”

The EEOC says Wal-Mart violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of age 40 or older, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act. The EEOC is seeking lost wages and an equal amount of liquidated damages for Moorman.

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