A federal agency says Wal-Mart discriminated against a lesbian employee who sought health coverage for her ailing wife and has ordered ``a just resolution'' for violating her civil rights.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ordered the retail giant to work with Jacqueline Cote of New Bedford, Massachusetts, who hopes the determination will help her pay off $100,000 in medical bills.

In a Jan. 29 EEOC ruling, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, the agency said Cote ``was treated differently and denied benefits because of her sex.''

Cote tried to enroll her partner in Wal-Mart's health plan repeatedly starting in 2008, but the company didn't provide coverage until 2014. In 2012, Cote's wife was diagnosed with cancer.

Arkansas-based Wal-Mart says it expanded its policy in 2014 to include same-sex couples.

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