One of the most recognizable ways that an Illinois resident may know that they have walked into Walmart and not another big box store is the presence of smiling, blue-vested greeters waiting inside the doors. Walmart greeters are a unique and pleasant institution in stores across the nation and are often beloved members of their greater communities. However, in the last few weeks, Walmart announced that it will be getting rid of the greeter positions in many of its stores.
On its surface this may not sound like a terribly concerning corporate move, but in fact it may have strong repercussions on a particular portion of the population: the disabled. Many Walmart greeters suffer from physical conditions that prevent them from holding down other work or completing other work-related tasks. Walmart has announced that it will introduce a replacement position, termed a "customer host," and individuals who hold those jobs must be able to complete physically demanding responsibilities.
Individuals who lose their jobs as greeters may have opportunities to find other work within the Walmart organization, but those who suffer from physical and mental disabilities may discover that the jobs they took pride in completing simply cannot be replicated in other environments. It is unclear what, if any, legal ramifications this move by Walmart may have for its displaced and disabled sector of its workforce.
Corporations like Walmart can make changes to their operating structures to serve their business interests, but they may not discriminate against certain workers due to their inclusion in protected classes. As this story develops with more information, the disabled workers affected by the elimination of the Walmart greeter position may find that they have rights and options for maintaining their livelihoods.