Walmart CEO memo says the company will try to rehire disabled workers following backlash
- Walmart ignited a backlash over its decision to eliminate store greeters following reports that the change unfairly targets disabled employees.
- Walmart US CEO Greg Foran sent a note to store managers on Thursday saying the company should "make every effort" to rehire disabled workers into other positions.
- "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 wrote.
Walmart's decision to remove greeters from stores ignited a backlash this week following reports that the staffing changes would result in job losses for disabled employees.
In response to the backlash, Walmart US CEO Greg Foran sent a note to store managers on Thursday saying the company should "make every effort" to rehire disabled workers into other positions.
"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 wrote, according to a copy of the note that Walmart posted online. "Since we announced this change, we have already made offers to many greeters, including those with physical disabilities."
The changes that prompted the note stem from Walmart's decision to eliminate store-greeter positions in about 1,000 stores and replace them with an expanded role called "customer hosts."
Unlike greeters, customer hosts "must be able to lift 25 pounds, clean up spills, collect carts and stand for long periods of time, among other things - tasks that can be impossible for people with disabilities," NPR reported on Monday, citing Walmart documents and interviews with workers.
NPR and other local news stations interviewed several workers who feared that they would lose their jobs as a result of the changes, which take effect in April.
"As can sometimes happen, this change has created some conversation both externally and internally, specifically where associates with disabilities are concerned," Foran wrote in the note to store managers.
He said the company will assess the impact of the changes to disabled employees on a case-by-case basis.
"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," he said.
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