I was hired at Walmart in 1993 as part of an instore floor crew, working third shift. When they phased that out, several years later, my job title was changed to daytime maintanance.
The store I worked in, is designated as a 'comp' store. Which means the bonus's are smaller, the wages are smaller, and the employee ratio to the work load is more stretched than the other stores.
According to the then valid employee handbook from 1993 to 2002, when I was fired, an employee infraction was supposed to be dealt with in a certain order. Which was-1 &2-two verbal warnings, 3-a written warning, 4-a conference with the store manager and the complaining manager, with a possible one day suspension with pay and 5-what they call a D Day, short for Decision Day, which is a one day suspension without pay, to consider one's wayward ways, and then on return to work,a conference with the managers, again to affirm that wayward way will be corrected, 6-dismissal, Unless the offense is considered over the top, then it was automatic dismissal, and those offenses were specified in the handbooks during that time.In any case, the employee had to have prior warning of the complaint before it went through the levels of discipline.
My wife and I had noticed a strange pattern going on in the store during December and January, every year. That period was the time coming up to the annual review, which was in January, and determined how much of a pay raise each employee would be entitled to. The company would give most of us a 4% annual pay raise, then they would cut back on our hours to compensate for the difference. On paper, we got more. But in actuality, we got the same or less.
We noticed over and over again that employees who had been consistently praised for their work throughout the year and had even gotten Employee of the Month in December got just as bad or even worse reviews than the employees who weren't doing so well on their jobs when it came time for their annual review.
Many of the complaints were trivial, had no basis in fact and had not gone through *Any* of the disciplinary steps. They just came out of nowhere, with no warning. For example, the major complaint against me, one year, was that my boss had to do my job because I had been negligent and had left my job undone. She Never spoke to me about it, until at my annual review. When I got home, my wife checked my schedule. There is a Very good reason why I wasn't available. It was my day off.
We knew something was wrong, but we had no proof, and didn't know how to find out what was going on. I had discussed the situation with other employees to figure out what was going on. Then about 2 1/2 years before I was fired, around Christmas, I was told to go up and clean the office.
When I walked in, I found the store manager and two of his assistant managers in front of the computer going through all of the employee files discussing who they could possibly find enough on to penalize in the annual review, the next month.
I heard them say things like, 'This person doesn't have enough. We can't do anything, yet.' And ''We can get this one. There's enough.'
Right after that, I got my first D Day for something so trivial that I don't remember it, and without Any of the previous Required protocol. My hours were also severely cut, and I was penalized for any time over the 37 hours per week(A fulltime employee is allowed 37-40 hours/week). Many times I had less than 37 hours, and I was designated as fulltime.
For the next 2 1/2 years, I was Constantly being written up for silly things that made no sense, with no verbal warnings, and being required to do things that weren't a part of my job description in an impossible time frame and a danger to my physical wellbeing. I was constantly watched and critisized and required to do more than I had been required before, in less time.
I tried to transfer to another store. But I was blocked by my home store. That's when we knew that they intended to get rid of me, as they had already done with quite a few of my fellow employees. Most of whom were black women.It was like they were purging the store of undesirables.
Then I got my second D Day with no previous warning.
Not long after the D Day, in August 2002, I was assigned to clean under a display by the front foyer, about ten to fifteen feet away from the registers.
I was down on my knees, when one of the managers came up behind me and told me that there were some coins under the shelf, in front of me. I could not see the coins. She said that I could just take them. I reached under the shelf and found 35 cents. Some of it was loose and some of it was waxed into the floor, and I had to scrape it out. I said,'Thanks. Considering what I make, I can use every cent I can get.'I put the coins in my pocket. Not long after that, I was called into the office and fired for stealing company property.(I have found out since then, that since the company didn't have a stated policy about loose coinage in the handbooks, during that time, that what I did wasn't illegal, and wasn't stealing. Besides the manager said that I could have the coins.)
I applied for unemployment and was not informed of the company's refusal to pay, nor about a requested conference call with the labor board, until we got a transcript of what the company accused me of.
The company claimed that I was cleaning behind one of the registers, making it look like I might have stolen from the register and quoted me as saying that the company owed me that and more and I was entitled to get whatever I could. They also had some other accusations which I didn't know were in my file folder.(We realised at that point that since they had padded my file with bogus claims that there wasn't much that I could do, since it was their word against mine.)
They also had it officially on file that they had dispersed my profit sharing account to me in August, Even though, I wasn't due to get it until January. So, I was disqualified from getting Any public assistance, since we couldn't prove that we didn't have the money, to the satisfaction of the welfare office.
We had just moved into a new house,(Because the mobile home we had been in was falling down around us, and the rains were literally flooding us out of our house.) and I had a wife and a son, (whom my wife was homeschooling) to support.
After about a month, I got two part time jobs, for about 6 months. One paid $6.50/hr and the other $6.00hr, and between them I was working around 37 hours/week. After six months they both replaced our entire crews with highschool students.
I was out of work for about two months, and finally qualified for public assistance and got a temporary job at the company that I work for now, for about nine months. I got laid off for about a month, then became permanent a little over two years ago. Around the same time that I got the temporary job, I also put an application in at Walmart to see what they had on the computer about me.
They had my name flagged with a note that said to check with the district superviser about anything to do with me. My application was denied with no clear explanation.
Because All of my job applications were being turned down during this time, we believe the company was giving a bad review to anyone who called. So, I decided to work with the temporary agencies to build my resume back up and to drop Walmart off of my resume. That is how I got my present job.
We lost our credit cards and have extremely bad credit, due to this. We got behind in every bill and five months behind on our mortgage. We almost lost our electricity, the phone(We live in a rural area. A phone is not a luxury.) and the house.
Six months after I went permanent with my present job, my wage came up to about the same as what I had been making when Walmart fired me. Which had taken me nine years to get.
Even when I was working temporary with my present employer, for $7.50/hour, I made more than at Walmart, due to all of the overtime I was getting.
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