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Walmart Greeter Grabs Customer, Then Fired

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#1 Hum

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 19:49

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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#2 Buttus

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 19:58

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

#3 ILikeTobacco

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 20:00

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.

#4 ILikeTobacco

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 20:01

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.

#5 Nagisan

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 20:07

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.

#6 +LightEco

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 20:12

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.

#7 Javik

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 20:15

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.

#8 logicwin

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 20:40

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

#9 Astra.Xtreme

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 20:50

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.

#10 shakey

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 22:34

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.

#11 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 22:53

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.

#12 TurnedMyWorldToBlack

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 23:10

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.

#13 Rohdekill

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 23:26

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?

#14 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 23:26

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.

#15 Hell-In-A-Handbasket

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 00:08

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.