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Wal-Mart sued for discrimination

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An employee at Wal-Mart has filed a lawsuit against the company for denying health insurance to the spouses of gay employees.

According to an article published by Reuters, the retailer began offering health insurance benefits to same-sex spouses last year, after part of the Defense of Marriage Act that denied benefits to married gay couples was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.

Despite that change, the lawsuit said that employees in the company still live with the uncertainty of losing spousal coverage.

“Benefits provided by Wal-Mart as a matter of grace … are not secure and could potentially be withdrawn just when large health care costs are incurred,” said the lawsuit.

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Jackie Cote, the employee who filed the lawsuit said that her wife, Diana Smithson, developed cancer three years ago and the denial of the insurance hes led them to incur over US$150,000 in medical debt.

It was reported in the article that in 2014, a complaint was filed by Cote with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a prerequisite to filing an employment discrimination lawsuit.

“The commission said in January that Wal-Mart violated gender discrimination laws by denying benefits to Smithson,” reported Reuters.

Image: Shutterstock

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