Walmart and Amazon Face Legal Challenges Over Worker Terminations

Retail giants Walmart and Amazon are under legal scrutiny for terminating employees following absences, sparking allegations of wrongful termination and violation of employment rights.

Since November 2022, California-based law firm West Coast Trial Lawyers has initiated seven wrongful termination lawsuits against the companies, with three filed against Walmart and four against Amazon.

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The lawsuits allege that both Walmart and Amazon violated workers employment rights by firing them after they took legally protected time off for sick, medical, or pregnancy-related reasons. According to attorneys representing the fired workers, both companies operate points-based attendance policies, where employees accumulate points for absences within specific time frames. Once a certain number of points is reached, termination becomes a possibility.

In response, Walmart spokesperson Kelly Hellbusch stated that the company provides full- and part-time associates with paid time off and protected leave for various purposes, including sickness and accommodations. Similarly, Amazon stated that managers are alerted when employees accrue a certain number of points within a specified period and are required to communicate with the employees to understand their circumstances.

A June 2020 report by worker-advocacy group, A Better Balance, highlighted the prevalence of points-based attendance policies across various US employers, affecting an estimated 18 million workers. Critics argue that such policies disproportionately impact low-wage and vulnerable workers, who may lack the bargaining power to assert their rights.

The legal challenges against Walmart and Amazon underscore broader concerns regarding worker rights and corporate accountability. As the cases progress, attention is drawn to the practices and policies employed by major corporations in managing their workforce.

In the pursuit of justice, affected workers and their legal representatives aim to hold Walmart and Amazon accountable for alleged violations of employment laws. The outcomes of these lawsuits may have significant implications for employment practices within the retail industry and beyond.

The legal troubles facing Walmart and Amazon highlight the ongoing tension between corporate interests and worker rights, prompting calls for greater transparency, fairness, and accountability in employment policies and practices.