ABC Sacks Wal-Mart for Employee Lateness Policy
“Are you sometimes a little bit late for work? Maybe ten minutes every now and then? What if that was enough to cost you your job?” anchor Robin Roberts asked her November 3 audience, as she introduced Christianne Klein’s story on Wal-Mart’s new tardiness policy for employees.
“To most people, ten minutes is barely enough time to boil an egg or fill up your tank. But to the nation's largest retailer, those ten minutes could cost you your job,” complained Klein as she added that Wal-Mart was “once again under fire” for its labor rules. Klein did admit in her story that “most of the heat is coming from union-backed WakeUpWalMart.com.”
But as Klein went on to explain it, the policy was far more flexible and less unforgiving than Roberts had suggested.
“Among the rules, employees any more than ten minutes late three times earn a demerit. Too many demerits in too short a time could get them fired,” Klein noted.
In other words, repeated late infractions get workers a warning while chronic lateness could, but not necessarily automatically, result in termination – hardly the “ten minutes could cost you your job” spin Roberts and Klein put on the story.
Yet turning to the proverbial man on the street for a quick opinion, Klein stacked three random people criticizing the policy to one woman who agreed that “everybody needs to be on time” to their jobs.
What’s more, even when Klein mentioned how the policy serves the interests of the cost-cutting that helps keep prices low for consumers, she lent a negative tone to the company’s policy on firing consistently tardy workers.
“Some say Wal-Mart is clearly trying to unload their least-efficient workers,” Klein suggested as she cut to Kris Hudson of the Wall Street Journal. Hudson noted that the policy “can dramatically cut the cost on the store level.”
Unsatisfied, Klein closed her story lamenting that that “means Wal-Mart workers can no longer afford to cut it close.”