Federal judge approves settlement in Walmart same-sex benefits case

BOSTON (AP) - A federal judge in Boston has approved a $7.5 million class-action settlement between Walmart and a former employee who challenged the retail chain's lack of health insurance benefits for her same-sex spouse.               

The settlement would pay for claims by current and former Walmart associates in the U.S. and Puerto Rico that they were unable to obtain health insurance for their same-sex spouses from 2011 to 2013. About 380 people have submitted claims.               

U.S. District Judge William Young approved the settlement Monday after a brief hearing in federal court in Boston.

The lawsuit was initially filed in 2015 by Jacqueline Cote, an employee at a Massachusetts Wal-Mart. The suit said the Bentonville, Arkansas, company denied medical insurance for her wife. Wal-Mart began offering benefits for same-sex spouses in 2014.               

A fairness hearing is scheduled for Monday. Judges hold such hearings to determine whether the settlement should be approved as fair, reasonable and adequate.

© 2017 Associated Press


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