Disabled Workers Feel Targeted by Walmart’s Plan to Cut Greeters

About 1,000 stores across the country will eliminate the role by the end of April.

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Walmart will be closed on Thanksgiving Day this year. (Alex Edelman / AFP/Getty Images)
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Walmart is eliminating its “people greeter” roles from about 1,000 stores on April 25 — a job that many people with disabilities hold.

According to NPR, Walmart is changing the job requirements for front-door greeters in a way that appears to disproportionately affect those disabled workers. These current jobs will be replaced with “customer hosts,” who have expanded responsibilities, such as taking care of security or assisting shoppers. The change, NPR reported,  is the latest wave in a policy that Walmart started in 2016.

To qualify for these new host positions, workers 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 noted.

“I don’t want to lose this job,” a wheelchair-bound Walmart greeter in Washington state with cerebral palsy, John Combs, told the news site. “This is a real job I have.”

Walmart acknowledged the effect the new policy will have on its disabled workers and vowed to give them more time beyond the current April 25 deadline.

“We recognize that our associates with physical disabilities face a unique situation,” Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg said to NPR in a statement. “With that in mind, we will be extending the current 60-day greeter transition period for associates with disabilities while we explore the circumstances and potential accommodations, for each individual, that can be made within each store. This allows associates to continue their employment at the store as valued members of the team while we seek an acceptable, customized solution for all of those involved.”

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