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Walmart accused of punishing workers for taking sick time

A group of workers recently accused Walmart of punishing them for taking sick time. Among the allegations are instances of the company refusing to accept doctors' notes, penalizing workers for taking care of sick family members and other instances of punishing employees for lawful absences.

The information comes from a survey of more than 1,000 employees, according the New York Times. If true, Walmart could be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other laws.

Among the specific allegations:

  • A cashier in Pennsylvania says her doctor's note for hospitalization was rejected, and she went back to work instead of continuing treatment for fear of being fired.
  • One worker says she was fired for missing too many shifts because of pregnancy complications.

These are just two of the complaints from employees. Walmart, for their part, says they did nothing wrong. However, they have been in the news in the past for issues related to their employees.

According to the New York Times reporting, the company uses a point system for unexcused absences. While employers can implement their own practices for unexcused absences, the system cannot violate the legal rights of employees.

If the complaints are accurate, the employees' rights are likely being violated. When it comes to a large employer like Walmart, if a few instances are reported, there are likely even more that are going unreported. People have a right to miss work, and in some cases are protected by law for doing so.

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