La Crosse Walmart greeter with cerebral palsy offered new position after pushback on new policy
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — A La Crosse man who has cerebral palsy and works as a greeter at the La Crosse Walmart has been offered a new position within the store after pushback on a new policy.
News 8 first reported earlier this week on Kevin Pavek’s fight to keep his job.
Pavek has worked as a greeter at Walmart for about the past four years, but was recently informed that the company was going to be transitioning its greeters into new “customer hosts” roles at thousands of stores across the country.
Some of the requirements of the new role include being able to lift 25 lbs. as well as being able to stand for an entire shift. Pavek said that was not possible for him.
Many people with disabilities, including Pavek, were concerned about the future of their jobs.
After our story aired, Walmart’s corporate office informed Kevin’s manager they would be offering him a position as a year-round sales associate in lawn and garden.
While Kevin would’ve liked to remain a greeter at the store, he says he is excited about this new opportunity.
According to CBS News, Walmart is making it clear, although staffing is changing at stores across the country to stay competitive, the company prides itself on employing people of all abilities.
The company’s president and CEO, Greg Foran, sent out a memo to all its store managers stating this:
“Let me be clear: If any associate in this unique situation wants to continue working at Walmart, we should make every effort to make that happen.”
Pavek starts his new position at the La Crosse Walmart in mid-April.
A La Crosse man who has cerebral palsy is hoping his disability doesn’t cost him his job at the south side Walmart.
The company recently announced they were going to be changing the job requirements for his position which has him concerned he could soon be out of a job.
If you shop at the Walmart on La Crosse’s south side often, chances are you’ve seen Kevin Pavek greet you with a smile at the door.
“I really enjoy my co-workers and the customers that come in,” said Kevin.
He has been a Walmart greeter for about four years now, 2.5 of those in La Crosse. He’s a favorite among his co-workers and a lot of customers. His mom can attest.
“Everybody absolutely loves Kevin,” said his mom Tes Schroeder.
And although he has cerebral palsy, it doesn’t stop him from doing a job he loves. But Kevin is worried his time as a greeter may be coming to an end soon.
“I was called into the office and told the greeter position would be eliminated.”
The La Crosse Walmart is one of thousands of stores across the country changing the job responsibilities of its greeters who will soon become known as customer hosts.
Some of the requirements of the new role include being able to lift 25 lbs. and stand for your entire shift. Kevin says that’s not possible for him.
“It’s too much for me, yes, I can lift things, my current lifting restriction is 20 lbs, but needing to be able to physically get around is just too much,” said Kevin. “I can do so much more than I get credit for.”
We reached out to Walmart and they provided us with this statement:
“As we strive to constantly improve the experience for our customers, we will need to adjust roles from time to time. We’ve recently shared our plans to change the responsibilities of the people greeter role in some stores and that involves associates with disabilities in some cases. We recognize that our associates with disabilities with physical limitations face a unique situation. With that in mind, we will be extending the current 60-day transition period for associates with disabilities while we explore the circumstances and potential accommodations, for each individual, that can be made within each store. This allows associates to continue their employment at the store as valued members of the team while we seek an acceptable, customized solution for all of those involved.”
Kevin hopes new doors will open for him from this situation, but for now he waits in limbo.
“I’m in school right now, I’ve got bills to pay too, I can’t go without a job.”
Tes said, “It’s not just a battle for Kevin, it’s a battle for everywhere in the United States where there’s a Walmart and Sam’s Club. I’m not going to give up, I’m going to fight the fight.”
Kevin says while he would like to remain a greeter, he understands how positions can change so he is willing to take on another job in the store. However, as of now he has been told by management there are no other open positions to fit his needs right now.
His mom just hopes any solution involves all employees with disabilities in the company, not just Kevin. She is even looking into legal options in case he isn’t offered another job within the store.
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