Walmart is getting rid of greeters; disabled workers anxious
04 March, 2019, 22:26 | Author: Mary Valdez
Unlike the role of greeter, customer hosts are expected to have a more physically demanding job, requiring them to do things such as stand for long periods of time, climb ladders or lift 25-pound packages.
For years, Walmart has championed its inclusive hiring policies, and its flawless score of 100 on the Disability Equality Index, a rating system measuring the inclusion practices. One employee, Adam Catlin, who also has cerebral palsy, has performed the duties of a greeter at the Selinsgrove, Penn., Walmart for nine years.
Foran also saidWalmart has already made offers to many greeters, including those with physical disabilities, and expects this will continue for many more across the country over the coming weeks. This allows associates to continue their employment at the store as valued members of the team while we seek an acceptable, customized solution for all of those involved.
"This was a major-league botch", said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consultancy, adding that Walmart should have foreseen the public's reaction.
In a memo to store managers, Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran said the company is looking for other roles for greeters with disabilities who are due to lose their jobs.
Walmart's decision to remove greeters from stores ignited a backlash this week following reports that the staffing changes would result in job losses for disabled employees.
Walmart's Rushing said greeters without disabilities whose jobs will be replaced by hosts receive a 60-day transition window to find a new role at the company. "But it certainly doesn't make any commitment that they are guaranteeing that there will be another position available" for all greeters affected by the change in job requirements. In recent months, she said, his hours have been cut - another common complaint NPR has heard from other greeters with disabilities.
Jay Melton of Marion, North Carolina, has worked as a greeter for nearly 17 years.
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Greg Foran, president, and CEO of Walmart stores in the US says that they are "taking some specific steps to support" greeters who have disabilities.
The letter from the CEO to managers follows widespread outrage from workers, disability rights advocates and shoppers against Walmart's plan to phase out its "people greeters".
On Friday, Catlin accepted a job at his store as a self-checkout host.
Just last week, though, his manager told him the store will soon be eliminating the greeter position.
"We're excited to having him stay at this store", he said from the company's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. The company is under a legal obligation to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees, so long as those don't pose an undo burden, usually some high expense, for Walmart.
It's unclear how many disabled or elderly workers could end up without a job. "That's what he looks forward to", his father, Jim Melton, told WLOS.
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