He’s been a maintenance worker at Wal-Mart for 18 years but it took one misunderstanding for Michael Walsh to be terminated, essentially cancelling all his benefits and forfeiting his chance to receive the 10 percent lifetime discount card given to 20-year employees.
A diligent worker, Walsh never had a problem in his job until the day he found money while he was on duty. At first, he found $5 in the parking lot which he promptly brought to the manager. When he went back to his duties outside, however, he found stacks of money amounting to $350.
The cash “was not in an envelope and bore no identification”. He placed the money in his pocket, with full intention of handing it to the manager but when he went to return the money, a woman was at the counter, freaking out over her lost money.
“A woman was yelling at a manager, freaking out that she lost her money and I got nervous … I kind of froze and didn’t want any trouble,” he said.
Walsh admitted that he had “anxiety issues”; thus, instead of immediately returning the money, he steered away from the yelling woman to resume his duties and to calm down. Some thirty minutes later, after performing his duties at the parking lot, he went back to the manager’s office to return the money but, by then, everyone had wrongfully concluded that he had tried to keep the money for himself.
Instead of being thanked when he turned over the cash, he was told days later that he had just been terminated. He was not allowed to explain himself since the CCTV footage clearly showed that it took him 30 minutes to return the money.
“They didn’t let me explain and said they knew what happened. They told me how it happened in a way they wanted it to go … I got treated like a common criminal,” Walsh lamented.
Several activist groups are supporting Walsh, in hopes that he could be reinstated and to prevent employers like Wal-Mart from wrongfully terminating their employees. After all, Walsh did return the money he found…only 30 minutes later.
As for Wal-Mart’s response on the issue, company spokesman Aaron Mullins told Business Insider this:
“We have high expectations for our associates that include policies and standards grounded in integrity and truthfulness. We take all associate matters seriously and have procedures in place that enable us to conduct thorough investigations and take action, if necessary. Regarding this specific associate matter, we have nothing further to share at this time.”