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Walmart settles with DOJ in Navy reservist discrimination lawsuit

Walmart Inc. has settled a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit over allegedly discriminatory hiring practices against uniformed personnel.

The lawsuit was filed Oct. 30, 2019, following a complaint by Naval Petty Officer Third Class Lindsey Hunger that Walmart violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994, or USERRA, by denying her employment in 2016 based on her naval reserve commitments. Hunger was denied employment by a personnel coordinator at a Walmart store in Grand Junction, Colo., citing the company could not grant her two-week leave request to complete annual Naval training.

Hunger filed a complaint with the U.S. Labor Department, which, following an investigation, referred the matter to the Justice Department.

Under the settlement terms, the company agreed to pay Hunger backwages and agreed to amend its employment and internal hiring practices, particularly for uniformed personnel, the DOJ said Jan. 7.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer also assured that all supervisors, managers, and administrative staff at its Grand Junction store will receive training on the requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act and on employees' and service members' rights and obligations under the rule.

In an e-mailed statement to S&P Global Market Intelligence, Walmart described the incident as "an unfortunate situation" and that it was glad to resolve the case with Hunger and the Justice Department.