1. #1
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    Default Walmart fires worker for helping Vol fire dept.

    Charitable deed gets worker fired



    Tuesday, December 03, 2002


    By JENNA PORTNOY
    The Express-Times

    When 20-year-old Tara Osmun piled her Wal-Mart shopping cart high with basketballs and Barbie dolls, she hoped the toys would brighten Christmas morning for children and raise money for a local volunteer organization.

    She had no idea her efforts would put her out of a job three weeks before the holiday.


    "Right now I'm really worried about what I'm going to do for Christmas. Right now I can't afford Christmas," the Stewartsville resident said Monday, two hours after she was fired for theft.

    Osmun used her Wal-Mart employee discount to buy nearly $1,000 worth of merchandise on behalf of the Harmony Township Volunteer Fire Co., which raffled off the toys Nov. 24. She saved the fire company $108 by using her employee discount.

    But Wal-Mart policy prohibits employees from using their discounts to benefit anyone except themselves or immediate family members, said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Sharon Weber, who is based in Arkansas.

    Although she declined to discuss Osmun's situation, Weber said the termination resulted from more than one discount card abuse.

    "I can assure you that there was more to it than just this one time," Weber said.

    But Osmun said she has never been reprimanded for misusing her employee discount before Monday.

    Store employees are told about the policies during orientation and sign documents saying they understand the rules, Weber said.

    "We have a really strict policy in place when it comes to associate card abuse," Weber said.

    Osmun's use of the card to benefit the fire company is especially disappointing because the Wal-Mart where she worked donated $49,000 to community organizations this year, Weber said.

    With more than a million employees nationwide, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is the fastest-growing and largest employer in the country.

    Wal-Mart assistant manager Pauline Doser echoed the company line.

    "It has to be for their own purchases," Doser said, adding that all her employees know the policy.

    But Osmun insists that she was unaware of the rule. About three weeks ago when she was buying the toys, no one in the store questioned her about the purchases, Osmun said.

    "I don't remember anyone saying that I could only use it for myself," said Osmun, who has worked full time in the store's photo lab since June. "I got a handbook, but I started working right away so I didn't have time to read it."

    Osmun worked until noon Monday and was then called into her bosses' office. She signed a document saying she would pay back the discounted amount. Her first installment of $36.21 is due by Jan. 14, she said.

    If Osmun doesn't pay back the money, Wal-Mart documents say that she could face criminal theft charges.

    A Wal-Mart loss-prevention representative was present when Osmun found out she was being fired for using the money-saving privilege improperly.

    "I honestly didn't know that we weren't allowed to use it," Osmun said. "They told me that I was fired because of it because it's considered stealing. I didn't take any items, I just used my discount."

    In the end, the discounted price only benefited the Harmony Township Volunteer Fire Co. that fronted the toy costs.

    Harmony Township Volunteer Fire Company Chief Wesley Garrison declined to comment about the auction and Osmun's fate Monday.

    Osmun lives with her uncle, Troy Rush, who is a social member at the Harmony Township company and captain of the Stewartsville Volunteer Fire Co.

    "She did something to help out the volunteers and now she's getting punished for it," Rush said.

    More than 120 people, including Rush and Osmun, attended the fund-raiser and bought tickets in hopes of winning toy prizes.

    "The whole town benefits because they use the money to buy stuff for the fire company," Rush said.

    Now he fears that Osmun's intended good deed could tarnish her permanent employment record.

    "I'm afraid it's going to follow her, and I don't want her to not get another job because of this," Rush said. "If anything, she's not a thief."


    Reporter Jenna Portnoy can be reached at 610-258-7171 or by e-mail at jportnoy@express-times.com.


    [url]http://www.walmartstores.com

  2. #2
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    Angry

    Does this mean no Wal Mart employee cant buy gifts for others? Look out Santa Wal Mart is looking

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    There's a lot to shake out here yet, but it sounded better for Wal-Mart when they claimed there had been previous abuse...until they told about the payment plan...

    "Her first installment of $36.21 is due by Jan. 14, she said."

    She saved the company $108, of which $36 would be 1/3. Evidently she's making 3 payments to cover the $108. So if there were other instances, why isn't she paying on those as well?
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
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    Default Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it

    If Walmart can produce the document she signed, stating the policy, then she gets no sympathy from me. I don't sign anything I don't read and understand.

    P.S. Knowing Walmart's track record in my community, a little forethought and asking nicely would probably have gotten the toys from Walmart for nothing.
    See You At The Big One

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    I agree that the (former) employee sounds pretty full of it.

    But if Wal-Mart had evidence of prior past discount abuse by this perosn and kept in their back pocket for later, that doesn't make them any better, and probably worse. Indeed, if they didn't fire someone for a terminble offense, doesn't any future offense become, arguably, Wal-mart's fault? They would have had the power to prevent it, but didn't.

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    She bought the toys. That makes them hers. If she chooses to donate her toys to charity, then so be it. I'd be glad to mail Wal-Mart the measely $108 if it would shut them up.

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    Wal-Mart is definately no Saintly company. Our Company used to do boot drives in front of our Local Wal-Mart and they would always shoo us off. They are a big company that shuns loss of any profit for themselves. So I have to disagree with firemangeorge saying that Wal-Mart wouldv'e given them the toys for free.

    Most big corporations could care less about the small Volunteer fire companies that are protecting their stores/properties. Try getting a Donation out of either Wal-Mart, KMart or any of the big chain stores or Restaurants. You will usually get the cold shoulder. However if thier property is lost because of a fire, they will be the first to criticize.

    We had a Gas Leak at the K-Mart in our First Due and they refused to Evacuate the Store! The Manager told me that they could not lose the revenue by pushing customers out the door! WTF!? I basically had to threaten to have the Inspections division shut them down for a while to get her to see the point!

  8. #8
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    Post From the WalMart website:

    How they like to get involved with their communities...

    Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. encourages our Associates to give back to the communities where they live. One way we do this is through our Volunteerism Always Pays Program (VAP). This program encourages our Associates by making donations to charitable organizations on their behalf for the time they spent at the organizations as a volunteer. Eligibility is based on the number of hours volunteered at the organization each quarter and the organization's non-profit status.

    Wal-Mart is proud of the time our Associates spend volunteering in their communities. Below are examples of our Associates doing the right thing in their communities and utilizing the VAP program.

    The Zanesville, Ohio Fire Department recently had a fundraiser at their local Wal-Mart store. They send this note to say what the funds will be used for:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    My name is Randy Dunn and I am a firefighter for the City of Zanesville. We recently held a car wash in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart store in Zanesville for the purpose of raising funds to help cancer victims in the Zanesville area with their special needs while fighting this disease. They need special fire safety education because they may not be as mobile as they once were and need to learn different ways out than they are used to. They may have to purchase chain ladders to get out in case of a fire, for example. The manager of your Wal-Mart in Zanesville, Mr. Steve Kisabeth, was very generous in the offer to match $250 of the money we earned in the car wash. This money will help a lot towards the needs of cancer victims and their families in the Zanesville area while they fight this disease.

    Thank you very much,
    Randy Dunn
    Zanesville Fire Department

    WalMart Funding

    Who's eligible?

    501(c)3 organizations - Agency must be in good standing with the IRS and will be verified electronically through IRS Publication 78, as published on their web site.


    Schools - Public, Parochial and Private (501(c)3 guideline restrictions may apply)


    Churches - Our funding is directed to faith-based organizations that are conducting projects benefiting a broad section of the community.


    Government - Funded Agencies - Funding confirmation letter from government body may be requested.

    Who's not eligible?

    Annual Meetings
    Capital Campaigns
    Endowments
    Faith - based organization's projects that benefit primarily or entirely on their members or adherents
    Film and video Projects
    Individuals
    Organizations outside of the United States or Puerto Rico
    Political causes
    Program advertising
    Funding for projects used for benefit outside of the local community
    Travel
    It seems to me that this action against the employee...contradicts the companies policies towards helping the community.

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    But if Wal-Mart had evidence of prior past discount abuse by this perosn and kept in their back pocket for later, that doesn't make them any better, and probably worse. Indeed, if they didn't fire someone for a terminble offense, doesn't any future offense become, arguably, Wal-mart's fault? They would have had the power to prevent it, but didn't.
    Does your employer fire everybody who breaks the rules the first time? This is just another example of an idiot FF (I don't care about the vol. part) who breaks the law and wants to be pardoned because they are a FF. At least she didn't invoke 9/11 as an excuse.

    Retail provides their employees with a discount as a benefit. I know for a fact that stores consider the abuse of this policy a serious offense.

    WalMart around here has been a tremendous corporate neighbor. I think that whoever said they would have gotten the toys for nothing if they had only asked is probably right. They would have at least received the same discount. WalMart has a foundation to provide funding for community service projects and is not afraid to use it.

    WalMart around here lets different groups conduct car washes outside of their building in the parking lot. They supply the water and materials. They are not "shooed off". If you are not receiving the cooperation from them, why don't you ask them before hand? It sounds like a lack of communication instead of a disdain for the fir department. Logically, how does a FD boot drive effect the profit line?

    Rules are made for everybody, even FF.

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    Seems to me that WalMart would have at least counseled her at least once. It could be that there is more to this than is being told to the public. Could it be the company had a grocery list of misdeeds but only used this one as the reason to release the employee. The public doesn't know what went on behind closed doors.

    George, I didn't see where it stated that she was a member of the department. I believe had she purchased the items and then donated them to the department there would have been no foul.

    From the article
    "I don't remember anyone saying that I could only use it for myself," said Osmun, who has worked full time in the store's photo lab since June. "I got a handbook, but I started working right away so I didn't have time to read it."
    She couldn't find time in 6 months to read the employee manual? I have no sympathy for her.

    Walmart donates stuff all the time to different organizations. I'm sure had the deprtment wnet to management at the store they would have donated the entire $1,000 worth of toys.

    Looks like the press once again throws out irrelevant information. In this story, why does it matter that she bought the stuff for the Fire Department?

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    My observation ....the writer of the article made reference to the fire dept. being the recipient...because it indicated good intent by the employee. I think the story would be different if she had purchased it for friends...and not an emergency service group.

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    The way that I read the article, I don't think she bought the toys with her own money. It seems that her involvement is that she lives with an uncle who is a member of the fire dept. Was she asked to purchase the toys "on behalf" of the FD, knowing upfront that her employee discount would save them some money? If so, then she violated company rules. If she bought them out of her own pocket and donated them, without reimbursement from the FD, then I think that would be within employee rules as gleaned from the information in the article.

    My opinion, you break the rules, you pay the price.

    John

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    I would expect nothing less from a company that is numero uno in denying workers their basic rights.

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    Thumbs down boo Walmart

    I won't even attempt to "side" with one party or the other on this one but, good grief, I hardly imagine the $108 will dent Walmarts annual this year. There is probably some "missing" info regarding the employee, but if she bought the stuff, it's hers - period. What she chooses to do with it is her business. I'm very aware of "if we let everybody do it" and the like, but years ago I worked as a loss prevention person for a chain in Alaska. Believe me, there is far worse employee theft going on in retail than this example. Walmart is still my favorite retailer only because I'm a "poor" FF/Medic, but these type of things really can tarnish a companies reputation. Oh well, just my opinion. I'm sure that based on Walmarts current wages for their employees, this should not hurt her too much
    Brian Rowe
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    Colleton County Fire/Rescue

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    I'm hearing lots of debate about this Wal-Mart vs. that Wal-Mart when it comes to who will and won't do for charity. I know the Wal-Mart here donates a lot of stuff, very generously, to various charities. I think the individual store/regional managers have quite a bit of autonomy in deciding when and when not to donate.

    Communication was mentioned; I agree 100%! I have this sneaking suspicion that, although WM might not have donated the whole $1000, if this woman had approached her manager, he might have cleared her to get the toys at the employee discount price. Instead it sounds like she did everything "in burrito" and just assumed it would be OK--she bought the old theory that it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission.
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    Unhappy They're all different....

    By virtue of human nature, each Wal-Mart manager is different! Suprise! What is OK at store A is a major crime at store B. In a outfit as big as Wal-Mart, some inconsistency is going to come up, as everyone will get a different idea about a specific rule.(Never happens in a FD) Although I doubt any criminal intent, The people in that store and that community are a lot closer to what happened than I'll ever be. I'm sorry that the lady is out of work, but lets give the situation a bit of time and see what happens. A big outcry from the community, and she gets her job back? The community ignores it, and she remains the bad girl? Tune in again.....Stay Safe....
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    Wouldn't this thread be better titled Walmart fires worker for violating the terms of her work agreement?

    WalMart has been very good to us.
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    I am a loss prevention manager for a large retailer (not Wal-Mart).

    Employee discount fraud (and the million other ways employees steal) costs my store thousands, which it then has to pass on to every shopper in the form of higher prices.

    My company gives written warnings for discount abuse, we only terminate for discount abuse after multiple warnings are given. Knowing how difficult it is to get the approval to terminate an employee due to our lawsuit happy country, I think there must have been more to the story.

    As a loss prevention manager, I rarely bother to spend much time on discount abuse, because of the many other ways that employees steal, I tend to focus my time on the prosecutable offenses.
    9/11/01 Never forget Never forgive

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    I don't feel that there has been enough information given here to form a clear opinion. However, I will say this; I worked at a dept store in which we as employees were given a discount. We also were told that it was NOT to be used to benefit anyone else; but that if we were buying "gifts" it was okay. So, that said, if she had used her "own" funds to purchase the said toys and then donated them, she didn't "benefit" anyone through illicit actions, she merely would have been doing what a lot of us do/have done at Christmas time. On the other side of the coin, if she used funds given to her by the fire department with the intent of "helping" them by using her discount then yes it was a dishonest act based upon store policy. It's a tricky situation and I think before anyone can base a judgement more information is needed. Before blasting WalMart I think people need more facts, if she did indeed violate their policy then they are well within their rights for terminating her employment. Those policies are put in place to protect Joe Public, think about it...... if ALL WalMart employees were using their discount to benefit others, the store would eventually experience a loss in revenue *on paper although I'm sure with mark up at what it is technically they aren't losing that much, but a loss is a loss* which would be felt by Joe Public with higher prices implemented. So although certain policies may seem silly to some, we must remember all policies are put in place for a reason.

    Looking at it from another angle, I can say this; how many of you have ever used a "trade" that you know or may get paid for to benefit others *ie: family members, friends etc* by not charging them for the service? How many of us have ever had a "friend" say "oh, I'll get that for you with my discount". It's so easy to judge someone else, but before we cast any stones perhaps it's best to take an inventory of ourselves and our actions, both past and present. This woman's heart was in the right place, but like I said depending on where the funds for purchase came for, a policy was *may have been* broken and if that's the case WalMart was well within their rights. JMHO
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    Default WARNING: UNION VS. NON-UNION ARGUMENT ABOUT TO BEGIN

    I would expect nothing less from a company that is numero uno in denying workers their basic rights.

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    From the article:

    In the end, the discounted price only benefited the Harmony Township Volunteer Fire Co. that fronted the toy costs.
    Game. Set. Match.

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    2 things I would like to add:

    1. Almost all retail stores have a policy just like this. They are all the same, and if they let one off the hook, they must let them all off the hook.

    2. Our local Wal-Mart just recently donated money to my dept. to be used for extrication equipment.
    Last edited by ForestOhioFF; 12-05-2002 at 12:14 PM.

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    Agreed she violated the policy.........but was it worthy of termination?

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    Agreed she violated the policy.........but was it worthy of termination?
    If she was informed of the rule, knew the consequences of breaking the rule, then violated the policy, then...Yes.

    John

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    Default Re: WARNING: UNION VS. NON-UNION ARGUMENT ABOUT TO BEGIN

    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    I would never dare think of arguing with you George. You are always right.

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