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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?



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.

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.

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“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.”


Written By

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.



  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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