The Maine Human Rights Commission announced Monday it had found Walmart violated the Maine Human Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act when it failed to accommodate one of its longtime Skowhegan employees because of his disability.

For nearly two decades, Michael Morin has worked for Walmart as a cart attendant. During that time, Morin, who has an intellectual disability, has had a modified, set schedule.

Morin’s 19th anniversary with the company is Saturday, and during the time he has worked at the Skowhegan store, he has received raises and positive assessments of his work.

In 2019, as the company moved to a new computerized scheduling system, officials decided they could no longer continue Morin’s schedule. He unsuccessfully appealed that decision to Walmart.

After other appeals were unsuccessful, Morin filed a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission.

“Walmart’s refusal to modify its new scheduling policy is a blatant violation of the ADA and the Maine Human Rights Act,” Kristin Aiello, senior attorney at Disability Rights Maine and Morin’s lawyer, said in a prepared statement.

“Walmart’s position in this case — that modification for one employee means ‘modification for all’ — is the antithesis of the ADA, which requires individualized assessment and provision of reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities, barring undue hardship.”

Randy Hargrove, Walmart’s senior director for national media relations, said the company is “reviewing the Human Rights Commission decision and will respond as appropriate.”

“One of our core beliefs is respect for all individuals,” he said in a statement. “We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, and we readily accommodate associates with disabilities.

“When our stores’ needs change, we often adjust associate schedules to meet those demands and our decision here was based on legitimate business needs,” Hargrove added. “We’re sensitive to this situation and have attempted to resolve Mr. Morin’s claim.”

Employers can, under the ADA, deny requests for reasonable accommodation for a qualified individual with a disability if doing so creates an undue burden.

Aiello said the commission correctly found Morin’s request does not fit that criteria, either financially or administratively.

Walmart did not respond Monday to a request for comment.

Under the Maine Human Rights Act, the commission will offer its conciliation process to help resolve the case. If that fails, Morin may file a lawsuit within 90 days.


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