A $7.5 million class action settlement between Wal-Mart and a former employee who challenged the retail chain’s lack of health insurance benefits for her same-sex spouse was approved by a federal judge on Monday.
The settlement will pay for claims by current and former Wal-Mart associates in the U.S. and Puerto Rico that they were unable to obtain health insurance for their same-sex spouses from 2011 to 2013. About 380 claims have been submitted.
U.S. District Judge William Young approved the settlement after a brief hearing in federal court in Boston.
The lawsuit was filed in 2015 by a Wal-Mart associate from Massachusetts who said the company denied medical insurance for her wife. Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. began offering benefits for same-sex spouses in 2014.
The female associate, whose wife died of ovarian cancer in 2016, said she was pleased Walmart was willing to resolve the issue for her and other associates who are married to someone of the same sex.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis of race, age, sex, religion, and/or national origin. For this specific case, attorneys argued that Wal-Mart violated Title VII when they refused to offer spousal health benefits because the associate and her spouse were of the same sex.
Our Florida Discrimination Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are strong advocates for LGBT employees. We firmly believe that all employees should be treated fairly in the workplace. We are committed to making sure justice is obtained when any employee’s rights are violated.