After more than a week of backlash, Walmart is pledging to make “every effort” to find other roles for disabled workers who’d accused the retailer of targeting them as it prepares.
Indeed, Adam Catlin, whose storyafter his mother, Holly, posted on social media that he will lose his greeter job at the Silinsgrove, Pennsylvania, store come April, was offered a new job Friday morning by Walmart that he will be able to start once the change takes place, according to her latest Facebook posts..
When the greeter jobs are eliminated April 26, Catlin will be able to start a new job as a self-checkout customer host the following day. Catlin will be moving his seat 30 feet from his place at the door to the self-checkout line where he will encourage shoppers to use the service.
“We’re just very, very happy that they took another look at this and worked with us,” Holly Catlin said.
The 30-year-old Catlin has cerebral palsy and has worked at his Walmart store in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania for more than a decade. Catlin, who is legally blind and uses a walker, was previously offered jobs last week as a cashier or a photo lab assistant, neither of which he would have been able to do as he is legally blind, lacks the finger dexterity to count money, and can’t move around the photo lab in his walker.
Greg Foran, president and CEO of Walmart’s U.S. stores, said in a memo to store managers Thursday night that “we are taking some specific steps to support” greeters with disabilities. Walmart released the memo publicly.
Walmart told greeters around the country last week that their positions were being eliminated in late April in favor of an expanded “customer host” role that involves not only welcoming customers, but helping with returns, checking receipts to help prevent shoplifting and keeping the front of the store clean. The position requires hosts to be able to lift heavy weights, climb ladders and do other tasks.
People with disabilities who have traditionally filled the greeter job at many stores accused Walmart of acting heartlessly. Outraged customers and others started online petitions, formed Facebook support groups and called and emailed Walmart corporate to register their displeasure.
Acknowledging the change had “created some conversation,” Foran wrote: “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.”
Walmart initially told greeters they would have the customary 60 days to land other jobs at the company. Amid the uproar, the company has extended the deadline indefinitely for greeters with disabilities.
“In terms of the associates with disabilities who are transitioning out of the People Greeter position, we recognize these people face a unique situation. And because not all disabilities are the same, each case requires a thoughtful solution,” Foran wrote. “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.”
Jay Melton, who works at the store in Marion, North Carolina, was also offered a job by Walmart and has accepted the position. Melton, whose family had spoken out about his impending job loss, will also be working at self-checkout, Walmart said.
“Jay has been a part of our store for the last 17 years and is well known throughout our community. Please help us congratulate Jay on his new position!” the Marion Walmart stated on its Facebook page.