(Bloomberg) -- Betsy Marler enjoyed her job as a sales associate at a Walmart in Mobile, Ala. She was hired in August 2009 and, three-and-a-half years later, promoted to pharmaceutical department manager at a different store and given a raise to $10.05 an hour. She was 53 and married with four grown kids, one of whom also worked for Walmart, when she started the new position on a Monday in January 2013. Four days later, doctors discovered a mass on her lung.

During the next year, Marler went to dozens of doctors’ appointments and underwent three surgeries. She had to figure out which leave policies applied, a sometimes complicated process for Walmart workers. The retailer, the largest private employer in the country, with more than 1 million workers, has more than 250 pages of human resources policies.

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