Unaddressed Workplace Conditions May Prove Problematic
It has long been reported Wal-Mart does not treat its employees very well. Recent strikes, however, are reigniting these concerns as some workers go on strike. At least five dozen employees have been illegally disciplined or terminated due to their opposition to the company's policies in recent weeks, according to an official from United Food and Commercial Workers. Wal-Mart officials said at least three of the employees were fired because they failed to abide by company attendance policies. If these individuals cannot oppose workplace conditions without getting punished, it may be hard for them to have unsafe work environments addressed. By barring these employees from opposing workplace policy, Wal-Mart may be putting itself in a tough corner to defend against lawsuits, especially if the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is brought in.
Houston, Texas, is no stranger to Wal-Mart, and the company is the largest private employer in the world. Because of this, many employees are at risk. According to one of the striking employees, Wal-Mart shows new employees films that oppose a group known as the Organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart. This former employee also noted that managers listen in on conversations to catch employees talking about workplace conditions. If caught doing so, a punishment may be doled out.
Many agree that Wal-Mart is obstructing and violating employee rights. A company that oppresses its employees and fires them once they have begun striking for better working conditions is one that stands to risk quite a bit should a workplace injury occur, especially if it is fatal or catastrophic. If you have been injured while on the job - whether you work at Walmart or anywhere else - you should speak to an attorney about your situation. If it turns into a case, it could give you the ability to force better working conditions.
Source: Sacramento Press, "Changing Wal-Mart? Respect our rights, workers say" Seth Sandronsky, Jul. 11, 2013