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Black Friday isn’t what it used to be. Each year, there seems to be more and more violence in the news that often outshine the stories about cheap deals and sales. One such story came to light this week after the Tampa Bay Times wrote a gripping profile of a 73-year-old woman who was fired from Walmart last year just days after a Black Friday incident.
It was late on Black Friday evening, and Jan Sullivan was told by a manager she was in charge of guarding an entrance to the Walmart where she worked as a greeter. He told her it was to be used only as an entrance only, not an exit, and Sullivan takes her job seriously after over 22 years working with the company. She called them “her Walmart family”.
A woman who Sullivan describes as around 40-years-old, wearing jeans and a baggy sweater demanded to leave through the entrance Sullivan was protecting. After their brief disagreement, the woman pushed Sullivan and as she felt she was falling, grabbed onto the woman’s sweater. This incident was caught on tape and Sullivan was immediately reprimanded an hour later and told she was suspended. Three days later she was fired.
After filing for unemployment, she was dealt another blow when she was denied because she was fired for “misconduct.” She was forced to sell her house and succumb to credit card debt to support herself. Today, Sullivan is living in a mobile home and struggling to make ends meet without a job. She has trouble finding work because of her age.
Walmart, with over 2 million employees worldwide, has said it needs to protect consumers as well as workers. “Regardless of her intentions, her actions put her own safety and possibly the safety of a customer in jeopardy,” a Walmart spokesperson told the Times.
Who’s side are you on? Did Walmart need to stick to their guns? Or does Jan Sullivan deserve unemployment benefits from her wrongful termination? Let us know in the comments below!
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