David J. Phillip / AP
Walmart's U.S. Pat. CEO Greg Foran is counting all store managers that they should make every effort to provide new job options for greeters with disabilities. Many of these front-door workers remain in limbo as the company plans to eliminate its trademark greeter position in about 1,000 stores in coming months.
The letter from the CEO to managers follows widespread outrage from workers, disability rights lawyers and shoppers against Walmart's plan to phase out its "people greeters." NPR reported on Monday that Walmart, the country's largest private employer, is changing requirements for front-door jobs in a way that appears to disproportionately affect workers with disabilities.
Just last week, greeters across the country were told their jobs were going away on April 25 or 26 to be replaced with "customer hosts," more focused on security and helping shoppers. The host job description demands that workers must be able to lift 25 pounds, collect carts and stand for long periods of time, among other things – tasks that can be difficult or even impossible for many current greeters with disabilities.
Walmart has since said it would extend the deadline for greeters with disabilities, but did not specify for how long. Also, has not commented on NPR's lawsuit and complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – filed in four states by five greeters who have disabilities and say they lost their jobs after requirements changed.
" Because not all the disabilities are the same, each case requires a thoughtful solution. For that reason, we are looking into each one on an individual basis with the goal of offering appropriate accommodations that will enable these associates to continue in other roles with their store. "Foran wrote in a letter to store managers late Thursday.
" Let me be clear: If any associate in this unique situation wants to continue working at Walmart, we should make every effort to make that happen, "Foran said.
Walmart's policy is just about the latest wave in strategy that was first announced in 2016. It has already affected about 1,000 stores, though a box current and form greeters who spoke to NPR have no formal document explaining the policy's details and its rollout. (Note: Walmart is one of NPR's financial supporters.)
"On the one hand it's a good sign that [Walmart is] putting out a letter recommitting their desire To be a good workplace for people with disabilities, "said Katie Eyer, professor of anti-discrimination law at Rutgers. "But it doesn't make any commitment that they are guaranteeing that there will be another position available" for greeters affected by the new policy.
In his letter, Foran describes the new customer host positions as requiring skills like "action customer refunds, scanning receipts, and checking shopping carts. " However, the current and former workers are entitled to the NPR the greeter position, usually already includes these tasks.
Some of the greeters whose stories garnered nationwide attention have now accepted new positions. Adam Catlin, a long-time greeter in Pennsylvania who has cerebral palsy, will transition to a different position on April 27, according to a Facebook post by his mother on Friday. Walmart said on Thursday that another long-time greeter in North Carolina, Jay Melton, will now work as a self-checkout host.
Confusion and anxiety continues to reign in many other cases. Some greeters have NPR that this policy also affects many elderly workers, who have received as much attention.
Four workers in four other states have NPR on Thursday and Friday that they have received no new offers from Walmart management. In fact, they said they've learned about all the updates – including the deadline extension – from the media.
One greeter and families of three workers described the chaos and anxiety that have consumed their lives following management by greeter jobs are going away. He says the news that his job is going away has been "absolutely heartbreaking."
Courtesy of Vickie Fogarty