Walmart’s front-door greeters are an essential part of the store, and debatably the best part about shopping there. Working as a Walmart greeter is an especially attractive job for those with disabilities since there are fewer physical requirements than in other comparable jobs. That is why it is so discriminatory that Walmart has changed the role, which means that people with physical impairments will be unable to perform it.
To give some examples of the individuals who will be affected by this, Jay Melton has cerebral palsy and has worked as a Walmart greeter for 17 years. It has been a great role for him, but now he will lose his job since alterations are being made to the job requirements in such a way that Jay will not be able to meet them. Another Walmart greeter, Marcus Romer, also risks being laid off as a result of these changes. It seems so wrong since what both of these men have in common is an enthusiastic and cheerful demeanor, which is the chief requirement to be a Walmart greeter.
Walmart, however, has other ideas. It has now introduced some very demanding physical requirements to the role. The sole reason for this move seems to be exploitation, meaning that they can get more work out of employees, and discriminate against those with disabilities. The specification now includes chasing shoplifters and being capable of lifting 25 pounds and standing for long periods of time. All of these changes will be hard for staff who are not fully able-bodied, which means they will be forced to give up their employment. Greeters in five states are expected to lose their jobs around April 25 or 26. This move has already affected 1000 stores.
Jay and Marcus are not alone in facing this threat to their livelihoods – it is a move which is likely to affect staff with disabilities all over the country. This calculating and punitive policy on the part of Walmart is likely to have a very negative impact on many individual lives.
Many of these people have few other employment opportunities and enjoy their work at Walmart. They have good working relationships with shoppers and colleagues and make the store feel welcoming and inclusive. It is a highly unethical move on the part of Walmart to take this away from people with disabilities.
Unfortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act does not protect Walmart greeters here, since it does not prevent companies from changing job descriptions as they deem necessary for their business role. Walmart has a long history as an inclusive employer of staff with special physical needs, which is why this policy is all the more surprising and devastating.
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