Walmart accused of same-sex bias in class-action lawsuit

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts woman has filed a class-action lawsuit accusing Walmart of wrongly denying employee benefits for same-sex spouses.

New Bedford resident Jacqueline Cote says Walmart 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 Walmart 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 Walmart’s denial amounted to discrimination and said in May that Cote could sue.

Walmart says its benefits coverage has been consistent with the law.

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