Wal-Mart Fires Worker For Helping Customer
Wal-Mart has fired an employee for coming to the aid of a customer being assaulted in the parking lot.
MSN (“Wal-Mart worker: Fired for helping assaulted woman“):
A Michigan man says he was fired from his job at Wal-Mart after he tried to help a woman being assaulted in the parking lot of one of the retail giant’s stores and ended up fighting with her attacker.
Kristopher Oswald told WXYZ-TV in Detroit that Wal-Mart has policies against workplace violence to prevent employees from assaulting co-workers or tackling a shoplifter, but that it appears that nothing allows for them to assist in situations of imminent danger and self-defense.
A spokeswoman for Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. told The Associated Press on Thursday that while the company understood Oswald’s intentions, his actions violated company policy.
“We had to make a tough decision, one that we don’t take lightly, and he’s no longer with the company,” company spokeswoman Ashley Hardie said.
Oswald, 30, said he was in his car on his break about 2:30 a.m. Sunday when he saw a man grabbing a woman. He said he asked her if she needed help and the man started punching him in the head and yelling that he was going to kill him. Oswald said he was able to get on top of the man, but then two other men jumped him from behind.
Livingston County sheriff’s deputies arrived and halted the fight.
Oswald said the Hartland Township store’s management gave him paperwork saying that “after a violation of company policy on his lunch break, it was determined to end his temporary assignment.” Oswald had worked for Wal-Mart for about seven weeks and said he would not have been considered a permanent employee until after his 180-day probation.
“The last thing I expected was to not have a job,” Oswald said.
There has to be more to the story than this. Maybe Wal-Mart worries that they’ll be sued by employees who get hurt in these sort of altercations. Or that establishing the precedent would somehow create a legal obligation for employees to intervene in future cases. But, surely, this particular outcome is unjust.
Given that, it’s truly baffling that Wal-Mart corporate headquarters, not some junior woodchuck manager at the local store, made this call.