Walmart to replace greeters; disabled employees could be affected

Walmart phasing out greeters: 'They’re trying to survive in a society that throws away older people and disabled people'

Walmart phasing out greeters: 'They’re trying to survive in a society that throws away older people and disabled people'

In addition to offering all affected greeters the company's customary 60-day window to apply for other positions in the store while they still perform their current job, Foran said Walmart will look into each disabled greeter's situation on an individual basis.

Walmart has received nationwide backlash after announcing plans to eliminate front-door greeter positions by April 25. 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.

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 also helping with returns, checking receipts to help prevent shoplifting and keeping the front of the store clean.

In 2016, the company started phasing in the customer host position as part of its efforts to better compete against online retailers such as Amazon. Goodwin was shocked. He loved being a Walmart employee, and proudly described being invited to the annual stockholders' meeting.

"I think this is wonderful", Jim Melton added.

Jay Melton's father said the Walmart position was his son's first job.

The decision has drawn criticism from some who believe numerous company's disabled and elderly blue-vested greeters will be left out of work. Greeters with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other physical disabilities feared they'd be out of work, sparking protests from customers and others.

Now Walmart, America's largest private employer, is facing a backlash as customers rally around some of the chain's most visible and beloved employees.

Elizabeth Warren proposes breaking up giant tech companies like Amazon and Facebook
They've bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. A company found to violate these requirements would also have to pay a fine of 5 percent of annual revenue.

Foran acknowledged the change from greeter to host, and its impact on disabled workers, had "created some conversation".

Attempts to reach a local Walmart spokesperson were unsuccessful Friday.

Within the last week, more than 16,000 people have signed a petition to keep Jay employed at Walmart.

"With that in mind, for associates with disabilities impacted by the changes to the Greeter position, we have extended the current 60-day transition period while we explore the circumstances and potential accommodations that will make sense for each person". Catlin - who has cerebral palsy, uses a walker and is legally blind - had been a greeter at his store in Pennsylvania for 10 years. 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. In recent months, she said, his hours have been cut - another common complaint NPR has heard from other greeters with disabilities.

Still, while there was a happy ending for Melton regarding his employment, many other greeters were anxious about how they will be affected by the change, which will go into place on April 26.

What is Walmart doing to help affected employees?

The Americans With Disabilities Act does not preclude companies from changing their job descriptions and requirements as they see fit for their business goals.

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