The Policy of Walmart Essay Example


The purpose of this essay is to review Walmart’s policy changes that many feel disproportionally affects workers with disabilities and to understand the impact having a business continuity plan in place can affect the situation. A business continuity plan can have a strong impact of the resiliency of a company. That impression could be tremendously positive for a corporation if it is a well thought out plan or it can hurt the business if one doesn’t exist or is not useful. Walmart believed that they were instating a policy that would benefit its customers, but many people were upset due to the perceived discrimination. The bad publicity for Walmart became quite impactful. This change should be examined to process what happened and what went wrong, so that business continuity planning can eradicate or lessen similar occurrences. 

Founder

Walmart evolved from an idea that the founder, Sam Walton, had to give the people great value and great customer service. His belief in leadership through service was the value on which Walmart was developed and it powered the choices the company has made over the many decades of operation. Sam Walton is Walmart’s history and its future will be embedded in his doctrines.

Sam Walton was born and raised in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. He was a military man and a family man. He joined the military in 1942 and married the love of his life, Helen Robson, shortly after. When his military service ended, Sam and Helen moved around until settling in Newport, Arkansas. Throughout this transition, Sam gained valuable knowledge in the retail business, which led him to running his first store.

Encouraged by the success of his humble variety store and motivated to increase opportunity in the community and generate value for his patrons, Mr. Walton brought Walmart to life in Rogers, Arkansas in 1962. 

The History of Walmart 

By the end of 1967, the Walton’s raked in sale of 12.7 million dollars and operated stores in 24 locations. About a decade later, Walmart had expanded to 276 locations and has 21,000 employees. Throughout the 1990s, Walmart stores went global, expanding operations in Mexico, Canada, China, and the United Kingdom.  Even though the company has grown rapidly it still stays true to its humble beginnings. For example, in 2005 Walmart donated millions of dollars and supplies to the victims of hurricane Katrina and Rita. Additionally, in 2010, the company commits to ending hungry in the United States by pledging $2 billion dollars by 2015. Currently, Walmart in increases wages and benefit for employees and growing its company through acquisitions and mergers. 

Walmart Crisis 

Walmart hires a considerable number of individuals with disabilities. Currently, the company is rolling out a new policy that will take into effect at the end of April. The policy changes the requirements for front door greeters, which has been a job many workers with disabilities gravitate towards because it doesn’t involve much strenuous activity and it is simple to learn. Walmart has changed the name of the front door greeters to “customer hosts” that have additional responsibilities like security guards and shopper assistances. This policy transformation has already started in roughly 1,000 locations. 

The new strategy seems to disproportionately affect workers with disabilities. To continue in these host positions a candidate must be able to lift 25 pounds, clean up messes, put away carts and stand for long intervals at a time. People have tried to change their positions at the stores, but the other positions have stricter requirements like the ability to climb a ladder. Many of these tasks can be challenging or impossible for people with disabilities. Numerous people are expected to lose their jobs after April 25 or 26.

Backlash 

The Walmart policy changes were on the nightly news and social media. NPR reached out to a Walmart greeter, 32- year old Mitchell, whose position has been removed in Alabama. Mitchell work at Walmart for four years before being let go. He stated that it was a stressful time for him and that he wanted the opportunity to work. "It gives me a place to go every day, where I'm not sitting at home. I'm not one of these people in the wheelchair that want to draw Social Security. I'm able to work; I want to work; I want to be out in society." He told NPR. 

Adam Catlin, a Pennsylvanian man with cerebral palsy, was a Walmart greeter for 10 years. He is currently facing unemployment due to this policy. His mother created a Facebook post and thousands have commented and shared to ask others to call Walmart’s corporate line and advocate for him and others in his situation. Adam said to NPR,"They told me that the job code would be changing, and I have to be able to stand up and lift 25 pounds. I asked them for suggestions and the manager said he didn't know what to tell me." Walmart representatives have met with the Catlin family, but no resolution has currently been reached. 

The workers, their families, and many community members feel distraught at the eradication of the greeter positions. Family member of disabled employees also spoke with the news about their views on the policy. People like Fred Wirth, father of wheelchair bound Joe Wirth who was pressured to sign paper saying that he was leaving for better job opportunities, believe that they are trying to get rid of disable employees through this rule. Joe Wirth and his cousin filed EEOC claims against Walmart. Legally companies can change job descriptions and job functions to meet business objectives, so the policy is not unlawful. It could be unlawful if individual stores responded to the greeters in an illegal manner.

Troubled History 

Walmart’s employment of people with disabilities has a problematic history. The company’s Diversity and Inclusion” initiative includes people with disabilities. Additionally, the company was at the top on the “Disability Equality Index” for two consecutive years. This report was created by people with disabilities and other advocates. Walmart was labeled “DEI Best Place to Work” in recognition for its companywide ingenuity aimed at advancing people with disabilities. On the other hand, Walmart has settled 13 American with Disabilities Act lawsuits for $6.8 million with the EEOC in 2001. The questionnaires job applicants faced included questions related to disability status. In 2005 memo was leaked that suggested all jobs included a physical activity aspect to it to cut health care costs. 

Business Continuity Plan 

Walmart has a business continuity plan. Due to Walmart’s passed actions that resulted in a payout of millions of dollars, you would think that they would update their business continuity plan to reflect those mistakes, but it doesn’t seem so. Walmart released a statement that said most of the greeters will be put in other positions at Walmart, but they didn’t say anything about the other people that won’t have a job. Walmart representives wrote another statement that said that if disabled individuals need longer then April 25 that they would extend the date. Now Walmart is backpedaling and saying that they won’t get rid of the greeters. The situation is still ongoing. 

Conclusion 

A business continuity plan is created to deal with possible threats. It is only helpful if the information is current and relevant. Walmart has been through similar circumstances in the past and should have reflected on that problem and updated the BCP to reflect what the company had learned. Not having a BCP is as bad as having an irrelevant one. Walmart serves as a warning to update your business continuity plan.

 

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