Scott Connors is Taking a Stand For His Sister Against Walmart
*Update: Since this article went live, Scott has added an update via his Facebook page:
"I spoke with the manager of Walmart in Pittsfield and he is out this week and claims that his HR person did not have permission from him to a) have a meeting with BCARC without him, and b) say the things that were said. He assured me he had no intention of changing Ann's schedule. He assured me she will keep her same schedule and will investigate where things fell through the cracks."
If you were scrolling through your Facebook page last night, or this morning, there's a good chance that you saw a post from Scott Connors discussing his sister Ann's recent dealings with Walmart.
Ann has been working at the Pittsfield Walmart for over 12 years and, according to the post from Connors, was told by the store that her schedule will be changing. Instead of working 9-1, five days a week like she has for over a decade, her hours would change to two nine-hour shifts, two days a week. Ann has Down syndrome and also suffers from OCD, which would make the change very difficult to adjust to, if at all.
With the help of Ann's job coaches at Berkshire County Arc, Connors is hoping to make this right for his sister.
"I spoke with the employment manager at BCArc last night after the social media post went viral and he assured me that they are on this," Connors told Slater & Marjo in the Morning on Tuesday. "My response to him was, 'that's all well and good, but someone should've been advocating in that meeting much more strongly.' The analogy I used to him was, if you are hiring someone who is in a wheelchair 12 years ago and you say 'here is a handicap ramp so you can get in and out of the building', and now 12 years later you say, 'Well you know what, corporate decided they want to plant some shrubs. So we decided to take the handicap ramp out. You're going to have to find another way into the building.'"
The support for Ann has been overwhelming to say the least. In under 24 hours, Scott's post had been shared almost 2,500 times. The post from Connors got a lot of people talking in relation to what would happen if Ann would not accept her new hours and assignment.
"Clearly Walmart knew what her limitations were all along," Connors said. "She's been working the schedule and they know she has physical and mental limitations, and then to come in and say, 'If you don't work these nine hours, we are going to put you at the door as a greeter, cut your other job, and if you then further push it by bringing in a doctor's note, we are going to cut your hours even more dramatically.'
"It spoke very much to me, a retaliatory behavior and a discrimination. People need to stand up to that."
Ann is described in the Facebook post as "a tiny woman with a huge heart." She loves her job and Walmart as a company. This has been taken into consideration as the investigation into this matter continues. One thing that has been noted is that the store manager of the Pittsfield Walmart did not make this decision.
"She lives for Walmart," he said. "I'll be driving down the street with her and she sees the Walmart tractor-trailer and she is waving at the driver. She just loves it. That's her world. Last night after this news came down, she called me and was hysterically crying. She said, 'I don't understand why they're doing this to me. I have Down syndrome, I can't work nine hours. Why are they telling me to do this, or else they are going to make me suffer?' I told her that we were working on it.
"I don't believe the store manager is involved in this because I spoke to someone about this and they told me the manager is on vacation," Connors continued. "So the person that was met with was a Human Resources person, locally, at Walmart. My comment to the BCArc people was that I think some people in the meeting should've said, 'This is an ADA compliance thing, we need to bump this up to corporate and talk to somebody higher.' They kind of just walked away and said, 'Let's have her try it.' I said to the guy last night, 'That's like me saying, let me come to your office and watch you do one-armed pushups. Let's try it of an hour. You can't do it.'"
The story of Ann has gone viral and it took less than a day for it to happen. That goes to show you the impact community support can have in situations like these. Connors is hoping for results and is also hoping that he can have a conversation with those involved in the decision making. Walmart, to this point, has not made any comments.
"I haven't heard from anyone besides the BCArc coach/director because the post went viral," Connors said. "They said that they will be working on it with their team this morning. But I have not heard from anyone at Walmart."
Listen to the full interview below from Tuesday's Slater & Marjo in the Morning show: