Report: Walmart illegally punishes employees for medical absences

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All is not as wonderful as it appears at Walmart. A report from a worker’s rights group says the retail giant doesn’t treat their employees with the same “live better” attitude that they portray to their customers.

With over 2.3 million workers worldwide, and 1.5 million in the U.S., Walmart is the largest employer in the nation.  But a report from “A Better Balance” surveyed 1,000 of those employees, and found that the company often penalizes employees for taking sick leave, and refuses to honor doctors’ notes.

A whopping 85% of the survey participants reported that Walmart frequently punishes employees who must be absent for a serious illnesses or disabilities, and 78% of workers were punished who had to be absent for a medical emergency.

Some employees have filed a lawsuit over an “absence control program” implemented by Walmart, where points are assigned to employees for absences, including sickness or medical emergencies.

If an employee fails to give at least one hour’s notice that they must be absent, they can be hit with four points – or even being terminated, if they have been there less than six months.

Sam of Kentucky wrote that he suffered a ruptured appendix at work because he already had eight points and could not leave to go to the ER or he would lose his job.

Brittany from Texas wrote that Walmart denied her request to take time off work when her mother was dying.

A summary of the survey findings stated, “Walmart is proud of its heritage as a family-founded company. Ironically, while the Walton family touts its family values, Walmart’s absence control program punishes workers who need to be there for their own families.”

The report further found that “Walmart maintains punitive policies and practices that destabilize employees’ lives and push them out of work when they need a paycheck the most.”

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