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Walmart fires an 18-year employee over $350 he found in the parking lot

With no warning, an 18-year employee was fired for finishing his tasks before turning in cash he found in the parking lot – do you think this was a fireable offense?

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Is this behavior a fireable offense?

It’s true that workplace ethics can include some grey areas: wasting time at the water cooler, hopping on Facebook for a few minutes during work hours, calling in sick for no reason–these are all areas that are tricky to navigate. What constitutes wrong vs. right vs. questionable behavior in the office, and what warrants a fireable offense?

How about returning found cash in your working parameters? Would you expect to get fired for that? One 45-year-old man from Schenectady, New York certainly did not.

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Michael Walsh, a maintenance employee at the Niskayuna Walmart, thought he was doing the right thing by handing over a stack of bills totaling $350 that he found discarded in the store’s parking lot. However, instead of being rewarded for his honesty, according to Times Union, he was fired for “gross misconduct” because he waited 30 minutes before turning in the cash.

Picking up garbage, comes across a chunk of cash

According to Walsh, he was picking up garbage and collecting stray shopping carts in the Walmart Neighborhood Market’s parking lot when he found $5. He says he immediately went inside and turned the bill over to a manager. After returning outside to continue his duties, Walsh found a small stack of $20 and $10 bills. The cash wasn’t in an envelope and didn’t contain any identification.

Walsh says he completed the task he was doing, and went back inside the store. He was about to turn over the money when he heard a customer “yelling at a manager, freaking out that she lost her money.” Walsh, who has dealt with anxiety issues, got nervous and “kind of froze and didn’t want any trouble.” Instead of interrupting the dispute, he went back to work and handed over the cash about 30 minutes after finding it.

“They didn’t give me any warning. They just fired me.”

Two days later, Walsh was called into a manager’s office and shown a time-stamped tape that confirmed 30 minutes had passed between finding the cash and turning it in. Walsh said, “They didn’t let me explain and said they knew what happened. They told me how it happened in a way they wanted it to go.” He was told to sign a statement, but was not given a copy; he was then told to turn in his badge and his employee 10% discount card.

Walsh maintains that in his 18 years with the company, he was never given a handbook of employee rules or policies about items found in the parking lot. “The only thing I did wrong was hesitate,” Walsh said. “I didn’t steal anything. They didn’t give me any warning. They just fired me.”

#Walmart

Amy Orazio received her MFA in Creative Writing at Otis College of Art and Design, in Los Angeles. She lives in Portland now, where she is enjoying the cross section of finishing her poetry manuscript and writing for The American Genius.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Fred

    December 4, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Walmart is a bad corporate citizen and should be broken up.

  2. Soulayman

    December 29, 2015 at 10:55 am

    It’s scary to realize that in today’s world you can get fired for being honest. Hope he sus them for a 1 million $ “stack of bills”.

  3. Pingback: Walmart fires beloved, mentally handicapped employee for giving hugs and deals - The American Genius

  4. Pingback: The complete guide to terminating an employee, remaining human, and protecting your company - The American Genius

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Business News

What small business owners can learn from Starbucks’ new D&I strategy

(BUSINESS) Diversity and inclusion have been at the forefront of Starbucks’ mission, but now they’re shifting strategy. What can we learn from it?

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Hands of all different skin colors on green background representing Starbucks' D&I.

Starbucks was one of many companies that promised to focus on diversity and inclusion efforts after the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in 2020. What sets Starbucks apart from other companies were its specific goals.

How It Started

They began with hiring targets and have now added goals in corporate and manufacturing roles. Starbucks’ plans and goals revolve around transparency for accountability. They released the annual numbers for 2021 as a way to help hold themselves accountable. The data they’ve released so far show that they’ve met nearly a third of their 2025 goals according to Retail Brew. Because of this information, we can see why they are choosing to move in the direction of manufacturing and corporate jobs. In 2021, POC’s fell to 12.5% of director-level employees from 14.3% in 2020 in manufacturing.

How It’s Going

Per Starbucks’ website stories and news, “[I]t will increase its annual spend with diverse suppliers to $1.5 billion by 2030.  As part of this commitment, Starbucks will partner with other organizations to develop and grow supplier diversity excellence globally.” To put that into perspective, they spent nearly $800 million with diverse suppliers in 2021. With these moves, by 2030, it will increase by almost double.

As part of their accountability and progress, they plan to partner up with Arizona State University to give out free toolkits to entrepreneurs on fundamentals for running successful diverse-owned businesses. Another goal they’ve listed is to boost paid media representation by allocating 15 percent of the advertising budget to minority-owned and targeted media companies to reach diverse audiences.

At the heart of all this information on their goals and future plans, data transparency and accountability are what’s forcing them to look at the numbers to make specific goals. They are doing more than just throwing money at the problem, they are analyzing how they can do better and where the money will make a difference. Something that, as entrepreneurs, we should all do.

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Peloton is back-pedaling: Reports of price increases, layoffs, and cost cuts

(BUSINESS) After a recording of layoffs leaks, ‘supply chain’ issues cause shipping increases, and they consult for cost-cutting, Peloton is doomed.

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Man riding Peloton bike with instructor pointing encouragingly during workout.

Is Peloton in Trouble?

According to many reports, Peloton had success early in the pandemic when gyms shut down. Offering consumers a way to connect with a community for fitness along with varying financing options allowed the company to see growth when many other industries were being shuttered.

After two years, CNBC reports that the company is “being impacted by …supply chain challenges” and rising inflation costs. According to the report, customers will be paying an additional $250 for its bike and $350 for its tread for delivery and setup.

As demand has decreased, Peloton is also considering layoffs in their sales and marketing departments, overheard in a leaked audio call. The recording details executives discussing “Project Fuel” where they plan to cut 41% of the sales and marketing teams, as well as letting go of eCommerce employees and frontline workers at 15 retail stores.

Nasdaq reported that the stock fell 75% last year, after a year where it soared over 400%.

Peloton reviewing its overall structure

According to another report from CNBC, Peloton is working with McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm, to lower costs as revenue has dropped and the growth of new subscriptions has slowed since the pandemic. Last November, according to NPR, Peloton had “its worst day as a publicly-traded company.” It also anticipates greater losses in 2022 than originally predicted. It makes sense that the company would reexamine their strategy as the economy changes. They aren’t the only one that is raising prices amid supply chain issues.

It will be interesting to watch how Peloton fares

Peloton has a large community that pays a monthly fee for connected fitness. While growth has slowed, the company still has a strong share of consumers. Although it is facing more competition in the home fitness market and more gyms are reopening, as Peloton adjusts to the new normal, it should remain a viable company.

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Business News

CEO is offering folks thousands to *quit* their jobs, with one catch

(BUSINESS) A CEO out of Arizona is challenging employment norms by offering a sort of “sign-off” bonus upfront, but this method has one fatal flaw.

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Man counting cash in his hand representing the CEO offering money to employees who quit.

Chris Ronzio, the CEO of Trainual, a software company in Arizona that aims to systemize and scale your small business, is offering cold hard cash to quit your job in an unconventional ploy to bypass the effects of the Great Resignation.

Before you rush to turn in your notice and make some extra cash, you should know that this offer is dependent on being selected as a hirable candidate and making it through the hiring process for Trainual. This option is also offered to new hires after 2 weeks of employment.

This model of employment gives the employee the ability to fire the company and walk away with a little sum of money. The thought process of the CEO was outlined in an article by the Insider, saying it is a strategic move to retain top talent and maintain a strong company culture. While this is a unique approach…it has a glaring flaw. The offer is only good for the initial two-week period. However, it can take some time to recognize the shortcomings of any company when you begin employment. We can all recognize the long-term financial potential of reoccurring income and while $5,000 is not anything to shake your finger at, it will eventually be gone. I think we can all agree that constructive criticism can be difficult to swallow at times, however, if Trainual was truly invested in this model they would extend the offer at other key times during employment. What if this offer was again available at the 1-year mark? If the offer reappeared at a one-year review, the turnover may increase.

Per the Insider article, Ronzio was quoted as saying, “With today’s market, hiring teams have to move quickly to assess candidates and get them through the process to a competitive offer, so it’s impossible to be right 100% of the time,” Ronzio said. The CEO added, “The offer to quit allows the dust to settle from a speedy process and let the new team member throw a red flag if they’re feeling anything but excited.”

These statements detail another dimension to consider which is the employment hiring process and timeline. If top candidates are in such high demand that the process has to be sped up to secure a workforce, this monetary compensation can help to ensure the hiring decision. Although, when the offer was implemented in May of 2020, the offer was $2500, half of what it is now. Ronzio reasoned that they could stay while they looked for another job so they increased the amount to compensate for those with a higher salary range.

Let me preface this by saying that yes, accountability should exist, but I would be interested to know the turnover rate for the hiring team. The cost to the company from this unique approach adds extra weight for those making the decisions on who to hire. The stress the hiring team faces has to be factored into the candidate decisions. How many times can the hiring team get it wrong before they’re let go? While the pressure to hire the right candidate should always factor in, one has to wonder about the effects of this model.

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