What managers at a Walmart store in Albany, New York, recently did to longtime employee Michael Walsh, 45, has many locals contemplating whether they ought to take their business elsewhere.
On Nov, 6, managers at the store fired Walsh for taking too long to return $350 in cash that he found in the parking lot.
In explaining the incident to the Albany Times Union, Walsh said that he first found a $5 bill and immediately handed it to his supervisor. A short while later, he found a huge stack of bills worth $350, but when he stepped back inside the store to hand it over, something caught his attention.
“A woman was yelling at a manager, freaking out that she lost her money, and I got nervous,” he said. “I kind of froze and didn’t want any trouble.”
Out of fear, Walsh then returned to his tasks, which included cleaning the restrooms, and waited approximately 30 minutes until he reported the money to his supervisor.
Two days later, managers at the store showed him surveillance footage of him waiting to return the money and then fired him on the spot for “gross misconduct.”
“They didn’t let me explain and said they knew what happened,” he complained. “They told me how it happened in a way they wanted it to go.”
In one fell swoop, Walsh lost out on his $14.35 an hour salary, on an upcoming 10-percent lifetime discount card for 20-year employees and on a potential retirement (never a sure thing in the Obama economy).
Walsh, who had been with Walmart for 18 years, now struggles to make ends meet and take care of his wife, who reportedly receives disability payments for her anxiety and depression.
“I got scared and didn’t go about returning the money in the right way,” he said. “I told them I was sorry. I thought they would have given me a warning or suspended me. Instead, they just fired me.”
Walmart has had some bad publicity lately, but for Walsh’s managers to have done something so cruel right before the holidays seems awfully sick. Hopefully, the negative public backlash will inspire them to rehire Walsh. Either that or somebody else will step in to help this poor man.
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