Wal-Mart accused of same-sex bias in class-action lawsuit

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BOSTON — A Massachusetts woman has filed a class-action lawsuit accusing Wal-Mart of wrongly denying employee benefits for same-sex spouses.

New Bedford resident Jacqueline Cote says Wal-Mart repeatedly denied medical insurance for her wife before 2014, when the retail giant started offering benefits for same-sex spouses.

After Cote's wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012, the couple incurred $150,000 in medical costs.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Boston seeks damages for the couple and any other Wal-Mart employees who weren't offered insurance for their same-sex spouses. The complaint says there may be hundreds or even thousands of people in that situation nationwide.

A federal commission concluded that Wal-Mart's denial amounted to discrimination and said in May that Cote could sue.

Wal-Mart says its benefits coverage has been consistent with the law.

 

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