Dear Walmart Chair Rob Walton:
I call on you to extend basic accommodations to all pregnant Walmart employees who have a medical need for them, so they aren’t forced to risk their health or their babies simply to make ends meet.
At Walmart stores across the country, many employees are afraid to even say they’re pregnant for fear they will lose their jobs or be forced to take early leave they can’t afford.
Candace Riggins, who is 32 weeks pregnant, asked for a small accommodation- to be moved away from the chemical fumes that were irritating her into a cashier or floor associate. Instead of meeting with Candace to talk about accomodations, the store manager avoided Candace with excuses. Even after asking for accomodations and being denied, she continued to work and later passed out and had to go to the hospital twice. Her doctor’s opinion is that her work could be causing the complications.
And Candace isn’t the only one. Many women have similar stories and have no choice but to go to work, concealing their pregnancy while performing duties that their medical providers warn may hurt them or their unborn babies. From climbing ladders and lifting heavy goods to scrubbing bathrooms with dangerous chemicals and being refused bathroom breaks, these women endure conditions that put their health at risk, simply because Walmart refuses to make simple changes (1) to help them continue to work as productive team members.
Now Walmart is facing class action legal claims about lack of pregnancy accommodations (2); it needs to take the health of its pregnant workers seriously!
After expectant Walmart associates, Walmart moms, A Better Balance, National Women’s Law Center and other women’s organizations and their supporters called on Walmart to address its arcane pregnancy policy, Walmart took the first step in addressing its arcane pregnancy policy for women experiencing complications. It finally extended basic accommodations for pregnant women experiencing temporary disabilities caused by pregnancy (3) – a very simple adjustment Walmart had refused to make in the past.
Now, it’s time to call on Walmart to extend these simple adjustments to all pregnant women who have a medical need for them—whether they have complications or a normal pregnancy.
As the largest private employer of women in the country, Walmart should set the standard for how women workers are treated throughout the industry and our economy. No woman should be forced to live in fear or risk their health simply because they want to have a family. Tell Walmart, it’s time to do better for Walmart moms.