Disability advocate says Walmart's plan to cut greeters targets people with disabilities
An employment shift at Walmart Superstores across the nation may affect several local stores.
Walmart CEO and President Greg Foran, issued a statement announcing plans to nix the position of 'People Greeter'.
After a week of backlash, Foran now says the company will "make every effort" to find new roles for greeters in the company.
The greeter position is mainly occupied by people with disabilities.
The statement says greeters will be replaced by an alternate role of 'Customer Hosts.'
Hosts are must be able to climb a latter, stand for long periods of time and lift 25 pounds or more, according to Walmart's employment site.
Local disability rights advocate, Jean Marie -Lawrence says the new change directly targets people with disabilities.
She adds, "When you alter positions to such a degree, that really the only population affected are your employees with disabilities, and you have no plan or how to transition those employees into other roles where they can still work and earn a living with the company they are happy to work for, there is a problem."
Paul Thompson says he and his wife Betty shop at the Walmart in Hixson every week. He say the once looked forward to getting a warm greeting but hadn't seen one at the door in a couple of years.
"There used to be a guy there in the wheelchair," Paul recalls, "You couldn't pass him on either side without him speaking to you and you speak back and it was very nice."
Jean Marie -Lawrence says the superstore has an obligation to find a new roles for greeters, if they desire to remain at the company.
The statement says, "If any associate in this unique situation wants to continue working at Walmart, we should make every effort to make that happen."
The statement goes on to urge store leaders to address associate placement on a individual basis, but does not mention any guidelines on how to do so.
We reached out to Walmart's Media Relations team but have not yet heard back.