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Class Action Lawsuit Alleges Antigay Discrimination at Walmart

Class Action Lawsuit Alleges Antigay Discrimination at Walmart

Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders is filing a class action lawsuit against Walmart on Tuesday, according to the Boston-based LGBT legal organization.

GLAD is teaming with the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs on the suit, which includes an unnamed number of Walmart employees. One of the plaintiffs is Jaqueline Cote, a Massachusetts Walmart employee who was denied the ability to put her female spouse, Diana Smithson, on her medical plan — Walmart's rules meant that the couple was hit with a $150,000 medical bill when Smithson developed cancer. 

"It is the first class action filed on behalf of gay and lesbian workers since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges in June," according to a statement from GLAD.

The lawsuit is a setback for Walmart, which has a reputation as a company unfriendly to LGBT employees but been working to appear more accepting. The Arkansas-based company recently scored a 90 out of 100 on HRC's Corporate Equality Index. 

“We are committed to fostering an inclusive work environment for our more than 2 million associates around the world,” Walmart spokesman Kevin Gardner told Bloomberg last year. And when employees at a Las Vegas Walmart refused to decorate a cake with the word "gay" on it, the corporate offices said the local store's policy was wrong.

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