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ST. PETERSBURG, FL - For 22- 1/2 years, Janice Sullivan put her heart and soul into working for Walmart.

"Walmart was my family. I didn't have any other family than them," :( she said.

But last Thanksgiving, Sullivan said she felt abandoned by her employer. As customers packed the store for Black Friday, Janice said managers told her to guard the entrance of the store making sure no customers exited from there. That's when she said one angry customer wouldn't listen.

"I said I'm sorry ma'am you have to go around the registers to go out. She said no I'm going out and then she just gave me a big push," she said.

Three days later, Sullivan said Walmart fired her because she laid her hands on the customer. Sullivan defends herself.

"I grabbed her to keep me from falling. That is why I grabbed her," she said.

Walmart told us in a statement: "Based on the information we have, the situation led to a bad experience for our customer and it could have been avoided. We had to make a tough decision."

Sullivan said the whole incident was caught on tape. When we asked about the video, Walmart told us they would not release the security tape.

At 73, Sullivan tried to collect unemployment, but said she was denied by the state. Since then she had to sell her house and has maxed out her credit cards to make it.

"Nobody wants to hire me," she said.

Walmart said they understand it is a difficult situation, but Sullivan said she will never understand why she was not given a second chance.

Janice Sullivan's neighbors have set up a website to help her with finances: www3.indiegogo.com/Jan-Sullivan2012

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wow, i thought they'd cut her some slack after 22.5 years of service! (unless she has a habit of doing this)

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Grabbing anyone for any reason is considered assault by law. Walmart is just protecting itself and it has a very clear policy about not touching customers for any reason.

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wow, i thought they'd cut her some slack after 22.5 years of service! (unless she has a habit of doing this)

Cutting someone slack and no someone else would be considered discrimination. Walmart is known for not giving a second chance and following its policies to the letter.

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Grabbing anyone for any reason is considered assault by law. Walmart is just protecting itself and it has a very clear policy about not touching customers for any reason.

I'm sure some slack would be given if it was clear she would have fallen without grabbing the person. As old as she is, more damage would be done to herself if she hadn't grabbed the customer than any damage done to the customer, it only seems right that she grabbed something to prevent herself from falling......though given what has happened, she would have been better off taking the fall, breaking her hip, and going on unemployment on walmarts bill.

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Grabbing anyone for any reason is considered assault by law. Walmart is just protecting itself and it has a very clear policy about not touching customers for any reason.

Since the customer shoved her first, and she just grabbed out in a natural reaction to falling, that would seem more like self defense or even an accident. She should have charged the customer with assault.

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It's a bit harsh that she got fired for this, and to be honest she should never have been put in such a situation in the first place.

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its not assault when the other person shoves you to the ground...

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Seems like the situation was pretty much out of her control. Depending on what the video shows, she should probably lawyer up and take this to court for loss of wages and additional damages. Though what's preventing her from "retiring" and collected social security, etc? Surely should could have done something so that she didn't have to sell her house.

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Grabbing anyone for any reason is considered assault by law. Walmart is just protecting itself and it has a very clear policy about not touching customers for any reason.

Ya, I'm sure a court would side with you on that, against a 73 year old woman.... Let's use some common sense and not act like every action is just as equal as another.

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This is exactly why people hate large corporations. She - in her capacity as an employee - was assaulted by a customer and only grabbed the customer in order to prevent herself from falling over. Walmart should use its vast legal resources to defend their employee - especially given her long period of employment - yet instead they used the incident as an excuse to get rid of her (most likely because of her age). And just to compound her issues the unemployment system was unable to help her, despite her incredibly long period of employment.

This woman has been let down by her employer and by her country. Such treatment flies in the face of common sense and decency. The failure here was by management, who should have been using security guards - not an elderly woman - to enforce such a policy, particularly when dealing with clearly aggressive customers.

PS - I imagine the situation was pretty crazy given that it was a Black Friday sale. It's pretty disgusting how people behave during it, with businesses deliberately exploiting such behaviour.

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This is exactly why people hate large corporations. She - in her capacity as an employee - was assaulted by a customer and only grabbed the customer in order to prevent herself from falling over. Walmart should use its vast legal resources to defend their employee - especially given her long period of employment - yet instead they used the incident as an excuse to get rid of her (most likely because of her age). And just to compound her issues the unemployment system was unable to help her, despite her incredibly long period of employment.

This woman has been let down by her employer and by her country. Such treatment flies in the face of common sense and decency. The failure here was by management, who should have been using security guards - not an elderly woman - to enforce such a policy, particularly when dealing with clearly aggressive customers.

PS - I imagine the situation was pretty crazy given that it was a Black Friday sale. It's pretty disgusting how people behave during it, with businesses deliberately exploiting such behaviour.

Well more than likely Wal-Mart refused unemployment just because you are fired doesn't mean you can get unemployment. They also have people sign a form saying they quit when they were fired, much easier than fighting it. I worked for Wal-mart just after I got out of high school and it was one of the worst experience I have ever had. I remember a few times when employees were assaulted by customers. So this doesn't surprise me at all.

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Grabbing anyone for any reason is considered assault by law. Walmart is just protecting itself and it has a very clear policy about not touching customers for any reason.

It is NOT assault when grabbing someone in self defense, or in this case, just to balance yourself from falling. The customer assaulted her by pushing. Walmart CEO's should have stood by there employee. What is more valuable, a dedicated employee or a customer who assaults your employees?

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Well more than likely Wal-Mart refused unemployment just because you are fired doesn't mean you can get unemployment.

I know, it's just not right. This woman has lost her house and any savings she had because of this incident, despite having paid taxes and contributed to the system. Walmart shouldn't be able to have the power to influence such a decision. As I said, common sense and decency is completely absent here.

It seems in the US they only care about you if you're paying into the system - if anything happens they couldn't care less. This woman worked most of her life and now has nothing to show for it. The system needs to be changed.

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I personally dont know the purpose walmart had her do that to begin with, if customer ignored her, she isnt allowed to do anything, and walmart isnt going to do anything either. The only thing the greeters are allowed to do is collect carts near the door, and say hello and goodbye, thats pretty much it. A customer can even deny a bag search.

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I personally dont know the purpose walmart had her do that to begin with, if customer ignored her, she isnt allowed to do anything, and walmart isnt going to do anything either. The only thing the greeters are allowed to do is collect carts near the door, and say hello and goodbye, thats pretty much it. A customer can even deny a bag search.

yeah same thing. A greeter cannot touch you to stop you. This sucks but she should of just gave the lady two verbal warnings then let her through. If there was a problem call a superviser.

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What is she doing working at 73 anyway?

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What is she doing working at 73 anyway?

I know people working at 80... it helps supplement their fixed income and gives them something to do. You won't live very long if you just sit around all day.

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Well Walmart was making a wise financial decision to avoid paying retirement and unemployment.

Now I hope some lawyer helps her sue the **** out of em.

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What is she doing working at 73 anyway?

Yeah -- she ought to be a millionaire by now. :rolleyes:

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What is more valuable, a dedicated employee or a customer who assaults your employees?

The customer who can sue for millions. The employee at most could sue for the injury, maybe disability and workers comp, which is a few thousand a year. Unless you are security, you NEVER touch a customer for any reason. Regular employees aren't even allowed to attempt to stop someone that is shoplifting using physical means unless they are security.

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Since the customer shoved her first, and she just grabbed out in a natural reaction to falling, that would seem more like self defense or even an accident. She should have charged the customer with assault.

Unlawful detainment is a suable offense in the United States which is what would be thrown back at Walmart. However, I think you are right in that she should have charged the customer and let Walmart take the unlawful detainment charge since Walmart left her out to dry.

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I'm sure some slack would be given if it was clear she would have fallen without grabbing the person. As old as she is, more damage would be done to herself if she hadn't grabbed the customer than any damage done to the customer, it only seems right that she grabbed something to prevent herself from falling......though given what has happened, she would have been better off taking the fall, breaking her hip, and going on unemployment on walmarts bill.

You cant give someone slack just because she's old and she could have been hurt. Walmart faces daily lawsuits over less than an obvious case of age discriminiation that would come from her getting some slack just because she's old. There is a reason big corperations don't show slack and stick to the letter with their policies.

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yeah same thing. A greeter cannot touch you to stop you. This sucks but she should of just gave the lady two verbal warnings then let her through. If there was a problem call a superviser.

She didn't touch the customer to stop her, the customer nearly pushed her over and she grabbed onto the nearest object to attempt to balance herself.

Next time I see someone starting to fall I'm going to go out of my way to let them balance themselves on me, then sue them for assault.

You cant give someone slack just because she's old and she could have been hurt. Walmart faces daily lawsuits over less than an obvious case of age discriminiation that would come from her getting some slack just because she's old. There is a reason big corperations don't show slack and stick to the letter with their policies.

Grabbing something when you feel you are going to fall is a natural, it just so happens that the customer who pushed up against her was the closest thing to grab onto. The customer started the incident, the employee didn't do anything anyone else wouldn't do if put in the same situation.

Go ahead, stand there and let someone push you over, if you even attempt to grab a hold of anything nearby, they are not responsible for the damages caused, you are.

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She didn't touch the customer to stop her, the customer nearly pushed her over and she grabbed onto the nearest object to attempt to balance herself.

Next time I see someone starting to fall I'm going to go out of my way to let them balance themselves on me, then sue them for assault.

It doesn't matter why the reason is she is touched the customer. All Walmart cares about is that she touched the customer which is strickly forbidden under their policies. Break any rule in a large corporation, and you can expect to be promptly fired. They are strick about the no touching policy because it leads to major lawsuits.

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