Man fired for aiding woman rejects Wal-Mart offer to hire him back

Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:45pm EDT

The Wal-Mart company logo is seen outside a Wal-Mart Stores Inc company distribution center in Bentonville, Arkansas June 6, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

The Wal-Mart company logo is seen outside a Wal-Mart Stores Inc company distribution center in Bentonville, Arkansas June 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

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(Reuters) - A Michigan man rejected an offer from Wal-Mart Stores Inc to rehire him after he was fired for helping a woman who was being attacked in the store parking lot during his meal break.

Kristopher Oswald, 30, who worked nights stocking shelves at a Wal-Mart store in Hartland Township, located northwest of Detroit, said on Friday that he does not feel safe going back to work.

"I believe my job was only offered to me because of the negative publicity they received," Oswald said. "There is no way I can expect to walk in as if I was a new hire and everything would be OK."

A spokeswoman for Wal-Mart said the company has a strict policy against retaliation and offered to accommodate Oswald with safety measures such as an escort to and from his vehicle into the store.

"His position is still open to him now if he wants to come back to the store. We'd welcome him back," company spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said.

She also said the company offered to reimburse Oswald for lost wages.

Wal-Mart said Oswald's initial firing resulted from his violation of company policy that requires employees to alert store management and call police instead of intervening in dangerous situations.

Publicity about the firing prompted Wal-Mart's corporate office to review the parking lot security footage and police report, Buchanan said. Oswald, a temporary employee who had worked seven weeks for the company prior to the incident, was offered his job back.

"Everyone makes mistakes and so do companies," Buchanan said.

Oswald was sitting in his car around 2:30 a.m. on October 13, eating a sandwich, when he heard a woman scream, he said. A man was sprawled on the hood of the woman's car. When she tried to pry him off her vehicle, he attacked her.

Oswald said he confronted the man, who then began punching him in the head and threatening to kill him. He was able to subdue the man, but then two other men jumped him from behind.

Local authorities arrived on the scene and quickly broke up the fight.

Oswald said he is seeking therapy to work through the trauma of the attack.

"I'm being haunted by this incident because I'm not a violent person," Oswald said. "All I did was what anyone should have done in that situation."

(Reporting by Lisa Maria Garza; Editing by Greg McCune and Bob Burgdorfer)

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Comments (8)
The attack on the woman wasn’t on the order of a heated argument or shoving-match.

A ‘company policy’ doesn’t override criminal accountability under such titles as “criminal negligence” and/or “depraved indifference.” Looking at a one-on-one scenario; he did the right thing, regardless.

Oswald should have gotten a Wal-Mart medal and a full-time job; instead of a termination notice. Now, Wal-Mart is looking at an expensive “settlement.” For all the money that Wal-Mart saved by using part-time employees to dodge “Obamacare;” they can afford it.

Now, will Oswald be slandered as a part-time disgruntled employee; or a disgruntled part-time employee? His bank probably won’t care.

Oct 25, 2013 9:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ThirdGrader wrote:
He probably should have quickly dialed 911 first, to get backup just in case. He should have also probably honked his horn loudly also to get some attention. Yeah, he probably also should have helped the lady out, I would have gotten my tire iron out of the back of my car while I was dialing 911, then gotten back in and drove my car over flashing my lights honking like mad.

Walmart should have investigated the tapes no matter what within minutes of the incident and suspended the man just in case. The moment they realized he was only trying to help out they should have properly responded.

It was not the smartest idea to become involved, true, and it could have created problems for himself, the woman, and Walmart if it were something he had misidentified. However, I do think in this instance he did the right thing.

Oct 29, 2013 4:19am EDT  --  Report as abuse
PepePinguita wrote:
I can’t believe how badly Walmart screwed up. This young guy is a HERO and should have been praised. I also agree with his statement that “Walmart only offered his job back because of negative publicity”. Shame on you Walmart.

Oct 29, 2013 7:23am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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