As most of you know I stay oblivious to news of any kind, but last week some media snuck through when Dirt informed me that Walmart was collecting money from a former (disabled) employee who was injured and received a settlement from a lawsuit related to her injury.
I generally try to see things from "the other perspective", so before rushing to conclusions about how evil Walmart is (I don't believe they're evil, I believe they are successful), I told Dirt that it was probably just part of their plan policy. I was thinking that it was written into their Short Term Disability policy - which is quite common. Many plans have clauses saying that if the employee gets a big payout, they should repay the (insurance) company for the disability payments they received. I don't love that clause, but insurance companies are slick. Personally, I say the company paid for the employee to have that insurance, the employee should be able to keep the darn disabilty payments. Of course there are implications to this perspective: the cost of the insurance would go up and then the employees would complain at open enrollment time about the rising cost of benefits - you can't have it both ways. So in order to keep costs down, companies accept plan policies with funky clauses that will only impact about 1% of the employee population.
Even though I kept my cool on the outside, I was a little nervous on the inside about this recent Walmart media-flare up. Plan documents or not, this case seemed extreme - the article said that Walmart was suing this disabled woman for all of her money! I have been on the other side of the Walmart hate wagon for years. (I don't TRY to go with the unpopular opinion, it just happens that way... a lot). My brother and my mother-in-law are ardent Walmart-haters. My MIL literally refuses to step foot inside the bargain wonderland.
Walmart is a store. A very successful store. Sam Walton's story is your classic rags to riches story - it's the American dream. He was an Eagle Scout, he served our country, and he opened a bunch of stores, hired seniors and handicapped people to greet customers, AND passed on discounts to millions of people each year. During my graduate program I studied their business model and found it to be concrete (with high employee satisfaction levels)...of course this was based on the information in my text book (not on the headlines or Michael Moore's slant). I don't know - Americans love to hate - if its not one thing it's another. It's so "in" and so "cool" to take a stand against things, and big companies are a great target.
For those who don't know, Walmart isn't a social services organization, they're a business. The only thing they owe their employees is a paycheck that is in accordance with FLSA. Everything else is gravy - if you don't like it, don't work there. If you don't like their products or customer service, then don't shop there. Find something more meaningful to hate, like Affirmative Action (lol).
Anyway, I digress.
Dirt sent me this link today; apparently Walmart decided that they were wrong, apologized, and decided not to collect this poor woman's lawsuit settlement (which is more than we can say for her lawyers, who took their cut out of it). As it turns out, it was part of their health insurance plan policy. I am relieved by this news for many reasons, some which include my brother and my MIL, but mostly because I don't want to see Michael Moore make another documentary about the evils or Walmart, or anything else really.