A man who worked at Walmart for 18 years claims he was fired by the chain store because he found money in the parking lot but didn't turn it in to management fast enough.
According to the Albany Times-Union, Walsh told the paper he was called into the manager's office, "interrogated," and fired for "gross misconduct" because he waited around 30 minutes before turning in the found money.
"The only thing I did wrong was hesitate," the 45-year-old Walsh told the Times-Union. "I didn't steal anything. They didn't give me any warning. They just fired me."
Walsh told the Times-Union that he was in the parking lot collecting garbage and returning stray shopping carts when he found a "small stack of bills." Not seeing any identifying marks on the envelope, he put the money in his pocket and returned inside.
There he witnessed a woman yelling at a store manager about losing money, and, as he told the Times-Union, this made him nervous. Walsh, who claims to have anxiety issues, "kind of froze" because he "did not want any trouble."
Walsh decided to clean a bathroom and then turned the money in about a half hour later without incident. Two days later, Walsh claims, he was fired.
"We have high expectations for our associates that include policies and standards grounded in integrity and truthfulness," Aaron Mullins, a Senior Manager for Wal-Mart Media Relations, told me. "We take all associate matters seriously and have procedures in place that enable us to conduct thorough investigations and take action, if necessary. Regarding this specific associate matter, we have nothing further to share at this time."
"I got scared and didn't go about returning the money in the right way," Walsh admitted. Still, he doesn't believe his actions justified his termination. "I told them I was sorry. I thought they would have given me a warning or suspended me. Instead, they just fired me."
Wal-Mart has found itself the subject of social media ire over the past several weeks. Last month, in a tale that went viral, Wal-Mart apparently fired a recent parolee for theft after he cashed in empty bottles and cans that he had found at the store; a Wa-Mart representative equated this to stealing. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart won praise earlier this year when its CEO announced plans to raise the wages of many workers in its stores; Bloomberg recently reported, however, that the move has caused some discord, especially among employees who didn't receive the raise.
Walsh, meanwhile, has already applied for work at other nearby big box stores and can take solace in the story of Thomas Smith, the worker fired for recycling: he just got a new job with a raise.
David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org