Recently, Walmart announced that they would be eliminating greeters and requiring that employees meeting people at the front door must be able to lift at least 50 pounds. Walmart is doing this because they’re trying to compete with Amazon (among others) and they feel they need to offer more service to their customers.
This has workers with disabilities upset in general, and in particular, because they’re going to lose their jobs that they currently do and like doing.
From a workers’ compensation perspective, however, the job of greeter has been used over the years to do two relatively significant things.
First, it deprives people who would otherwise be eligible for vocational assistance and retraining in a different type of work that they would be able to do virtually anywhere from getting that retraining. That may not seem to a big deal, but there aren’t too many “greeter” jobs available other than at Walmart. Advancing from that is not an easy task and leaves the worker completely dependent upon Walmart.
The other people who are significantly affected are people who would likely be permanently and totally disabled. Walmart is able to accommodate almost any disability and put them to work as a greeter. Again, the job market for “greeters” is very small and if anything happens to that particular Walmart store, that “greeter” who is in fact permanently and totally disabled could be out of a job and deprived of any opportunity to prove permanent and total disability.
On the other hand, the folks who are doing the job of greeter with their significant disabilities should have a right to continue doing that job if at all possible.
There is no easy answer to this, and I don’t know how Walmart is going to end up treating people who are currently working for them, and I likewise don’t know how Walmart is going to treat people who are injured on the job and that Walmart does not want to pay for vocational assistance or other significant benefits.