Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Long Island Wal-Mart faces harassment suit...


(AP) — A man with Down syndrome who worked at a Long Island Wal-Mart is suing the giant retailer for harassment.

Brentwood, L.I., resident John Runza, who worked at the Central Islip Wal-Mart from December 2004 to May 2006, says he was threatened and ridiculed by fellow Wal-Mart workers and was also harassed due to his irritable bowel syndrome.

He seeks unspecified damages.

"While we can't comment on a pending lawsuit, I can tell you that the facts, as they have been described, are not correct," John Simley, spokesman for the Bentonville, Ark.-based company, said Friday.

Mr. Runza's lawyer won a $7.5 million verdict last year over the job reassignment of Wal-Mart worker Patrick Brady of Centereach, L.I., who has cerebral palsy. A judge reduced the award to $900,000. Wal-Mart is appealing.

"When is Wal-Mart going to learn that you can't treat people with disabilities as second-class citizens?" said the men's lawyer, Douglas Wigdor.

Responded Mr. Simley: "Wal-Mart is committed to providing equal employment opportunities for all qualified associates and to ensuring diversity in all company practices and policies."

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