Walmart endured more than a week’s worth of bad publicity before announcing publicly that it was making “every effort” to find a role for disabled workers who had been threatened with job loss as the retailer gets rid of greeters at 1,000 stores. Amid a fierce backlash, Greg Foran, president and CEO of Walmart’s US stores, said in a memo to store managers that “we are taking some specific steps to support” greeters with disabilities. The chain noted that several greeters were offered new jobs at their respective stores and accepted. Advocates for the disabled said Walmart is making the right move. 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. 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 and outraged customers started petitions. “This was a major-league botch,” says retail consultant Craig Johnson.
Photo Credit: Walmart (photographer unknown)