A Special Note on Black Friday Safety
OSHA: Walmart, retailers should protect workers and customers during Black Friday
Retail workers and customers are at risk of injury or death during holiday sales events such as “Black Friday” at major retailers like Walmart. In 2008, a worker was trampled to death at a Walmart store in Long Island during the opening of a “Black Friday” sale as customers rushed through the door. In the wake of that death, OSHA has developed guidelines for retailers like Walmart to follow to make sure workers and customers are protected when crowds start showing up.
Walmart associates should also know what is expected of their employer. The safest workers are informed and speak up for their safety. The OSHA Guidelines as well as a link to the letters to Walmart and safety officials are available online.
Among other measures, Walmart should:
- Hire additional staff, based on the anticipated size of the crowds
- Have trained security or crowd management personnel on site
- Train workers on security measures
- Train workers on emergency procedures
- Prepare an emergency plan, and make sure that both workers and local emergency responders know about it
Walmart Associates: take action and take precautions. Learn more at the links above and share this information with your co-workers. Talk to management at your Walmart, ask about your store’s plans to protect associates and customers, and find out whether your Walmart has reached out to your local emergency responders. Then, make sure you receive the training and staffing you need for a safe “Black Friday.”
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Knowing OUR Rights
OUR Walmart is working to make sure all Walmart Associates know our rights and that we get the respect and dignity we deserve.
The following guide will help you figure out if Walmart is violating laws designed to protect people in their workplaces. While this certainly is not a full list of laws designed to protect workers, it is based on the most common issues Associates face. Click on the provided links to get detailed information on what the laws are. In some states, there are even stronger laws protecting workers.
Walmart has faced a lot of legal problems for violating laws that protect workers, so we know from experience that just because the law exists doesn’t mean Walmart is going to follow it. It’s up to us to know our rights and start defending them.
Federal laws prohibit discrimination based on age, sex, race or belief system.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protect employees from discrimination based on age, sex, race or belief system. No one should be treated more or less favorably because of who they are. Click here for more information. Walmart was named in the single largest class-action lawsuit in U.S. history, Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., due to allegations of sex discrimination.
Our jobs are protected by law if we get together about a workplace issue.
The National Labor Relations Act protects us acting collectively to address workplace issues. That means that any time we stand together, the law has our back. Their website says, “The law we enforce gives employees the right to act together to try to improve their pay and working conditions or fix job-related problems, even if they aren’t in a union. If employees are fired, suspended, or otherwise penalized for taking part in protected group activity, the National Labor Relations Board will fight to restore what was unlawfully taken away.” Read more about these rights here.
Wage and Hour laws ensure workers are paid for their time in the workplace.
These laws ensure that workers are paid for overtime, are paid at or above the minimum wage, and are paid for every hour they work. Walmart has a history of being accused of wage and hour law violations and has settled lawsuits across the country for millions of dollars in unpaid wages to Associates. Read about state minimum wages here.
There are workplace safety laws that cover everything from lifting heavy objects to air quality in the workplace.
Occupational Health and Safety laws are designed to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths, and are enforceable in your workplace. We all have the right to go to work expecting we will leave just as healthy as when we arrived.
Our own health, and the health of our families, sometimes has to come before all other responsibilities.
The Family and Medical Leave Act entitles employees to take leave for family and medical reasons with the ability to continue health insurance coverage. Employees can’t legally be fired for taking qualified FMLA leave.
There are some protections for whistleblowers.
There are numerous federal laws that contain provision protecting whistleblowers covering topics ranging from environmental complaints to revelations of corporate fraud. Some of these laws are specific to certain industries, and each contains its own time limits and requirements. Investigations of potential violations of many of these whistleblower provisions fall under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Whistleblower Protection Program (OWPP) of the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Click here for more information.