Walmart can be Accused of Punishing Workers for Sick Days

“We understand of which associates may have to miss work on occasion, as well as we have processes in place to assist them,” Randy Hargrove, a spokesman for Walmart, said. The company reviews each employee’s circumstances individually, he said, “in compliance with company policy as well as the law.”

Katie Orzehowski says her miscarriage last fall almost cost her a job.

A cashier at the Walmart in North Huntingdon, Pa., Ms. Orzehowski said she tried to use doctors’ notes as well as hospitalization records to excuse her missed shifts, to no avail. Worried of which another absence could get her fired, she went back to work.

“I still had a lot of bleeding going on, as well as of which’s embarrassing,” Ms. Orzehowski, 26, said.

Her account can be one of dozens included inside report, which clashes with the company’s recent efforts to project a more worker-friendly image.

Walmart has long been known for its penny-pinching attention to detail as well as its opposition to organized labor. however inside past couple of years, the company has announced of which the item could raise its minimum wage to $10 an hour as well as has pledged to invest heavily in training as well as paying workers.

Workers’ advocates have expressed skepticism about the retailer’s commitment to improving the lives of its more than one million employees. Around the same time of which Walmart lifted wages, the item cut merit raises as well as introduced a training program of which could keep hourly pay at $9 an hour for up to 18 months.

In November, A Better Balance filed a complaint with the employment commission on behalf of Arleja Stevens, a Walmart employee who said she was fired after missing too many shifts because of complications through her pregnancy. In of which filing, the group accused Walmart of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The employment commission can be investigating the accusation, Ms. Bakst said.

Mr. Hargrove said the company disagreed with Ms. Stevens’s claims.

A Better Balance also participated in a separate lawsuit last month alleging of which Walmart discriminated against pregnant employees

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A workers’ group said Walmart routinely refuses to accept doctors’ notes, penalizes workers who need to take care of a sick family member as well as otherwise punishes employees for lawful absences.

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The company has disputed the claims of the two women at the center of the suit.

A Better Balance wrote the survey questions used for Thursday’s report. The questions asked employees whether they believed of which Walmart had a problem of regularly punishing people for absences relating to an illness or disability, as well as about how the company treated absences. The group worked with the labor group OUR Walmart, which promoted the survey to workers who listed Walmart as their employer on Facebook, according to Andrea Dehlendorf, a director of OUR Walmart.

“Although of which system can be supposed to be ‘neutral’ as well as punish all absences equally, along the lines of a ‘three-strikes-as well as-you’re-out’ policy, in reality, such a system can be brutally unfair,” the report says of Walmart’s absence-control policy. “the item punishes workers for things they cannot control as well as disproportionately harms the most vulnerable workers.”

Walmart assigns disciplinary points for unexcused absences as well as different infractions. Nine points in a six-month period can result in an employee’s being fired, according to a copy of the company’s absence policy reviewed by The fresh York Times. fresh employees may be fired for accruing four points in their first six months.

While Walmart has written guidelines for how managers as well as supervisors should respond to employees who need help because of medical issues, those policies are not always followed, according to the report.

“They just straight up tell you, ‘We don’t accept excuses,’” said Ms. Orzehowski, who still works for the company.

In a follow-up email, Mr. Hargrove said of which the company did “not have any information of which could support of which Ms. Orzehowski advised us of a medical reason for her absences.”

“If of which were the case, she could have used those medical records to apply for a leave or accommodation,” he said.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires businesses with 15 or more employees to make reasonable accommodations for disabled workers. In 2008, the definition of a disabled worker was expanded, to include temporary medical conditions like complications relating to a pregnancy.

The Family as well as Medical Leave Act protects eligible workers — those who have been employed for 12 months at a company with 50 or more employees — who need to take time off to care for themselves or a family member.

Under the A.D.A., employers must work with employees to determine if workers are eligible for such accommodations. Dismissing doctors’ notes or otherwise refusing to consider the reason for a worker’s absence could potentially be “skirting the analysis” in which employers are required to engage, according to Michelle Caiola, the director of litigation for Disability Rights Advocates, a nonprofit group, as well as a former senior trial lawyer for the E.E.O.C., which enforces federal worker protections.

“A company as big as Walmart, the item’s surprising of which they don’t possess the appropriate training for the personnel of which could be overseeing these sorts of leaves,” Ms. Caiola said.

Mr. Hargrove said of which the company had worked with “countless” employees to successfully authorize their absences through work.

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Walmart can be Accused of Punishing Workers for Sick Days

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