SELINSGROVE – Adam Catlin celebrated his 10th birthday as a Greeter at the Walmart Selinsgrove Supercenter in December.
He is now afraid of losing his job because of his disability.
A change in the tasks at the door calls the "people to greet" to give way to the "hosts", taking over tasks that Catlin said his disability would not allow.
"It was a bit of a shock. They just told me Saturday. They called me in the manager's office to tell him that the job code was changing. They said I should lift 25 pounds, be able to walk a lot and stay up, "said Catlin, 30, of Middleburg. Catlin said it had been announced that a decision on his employment would be made by April 26th.
"I can not lift 25 pounds and hold on to a walker. I must be able to walk, "he said.
Cerebral palsy restricts the strength and range of motion. Catlin sits on a walker to stand and walk. A commando exploration is often his only way to get in and out of tight spaces. Although he is able, with a little help, to lift specific weights, such as the bench press, hold a cup, utensils or even shake hands, challenges his fine motor skills.
Catlin said he could receive disability benefits but prefers to work. He added that he worked on average 32 hours a week for the only work he had ever done. He arrives 30 minutes early for his shifts, he said, and he has no demerits in terms of accountability or performance. He stated that his main responsibility is to welcome customers when they come and go.
Grab a pen, create documents on a computer, reach overhead, bend at the waist, carry goods weighing up to 10 kg – all this is part of the physical activities that a "guest host" will be called to do. Catlin stated that he was not able to.
He is not alone.
There are similar stories from East Stroudsburg, as well as New York and Ohio, where employees with cerebral palsy – one of them was 21 in the store – were fired when the store left his position as a welcome post. A company blog states that users can apply for new jobs or other positions or accept severance pay.
In January, the company obtained a judgment in New York City, New York, against a 19-year-old employee with cerebral palsy, who had filed a complaint of discrimination for the dismissal of his lawn and law partner position. of garden.
Money is not a problem, Catlin said. Having a job is a source of pride.
The rumor soon circulated on social networks, announcing that the banner with a broad smile could soon disappear from the store, causing thousands of angry reactions. He added that he had been approached throughout his Monday shift, by people offering their support.
Jose Lopez, a student at Shikellamy High School, did a change.org page to create support for Catlin.
"Let's show Walmart that his shameful and disrespectful policy will not stand! Adam chooses to work unlike many who choose to take the money out of disability, "Lopez wrote on the page.
More than 350 people signed the petition before 10:15 pm Tuesday evening.
"I did not know what to say. I asked them for help. (The manager) said he did not know what to say to me, "said Catlin.
The store management declined to comment on Tuesday, sending reporters to the company's headquarters.
The timing of the case did not help Catlin and his family. A sister, Ashley Catlin, died suddenly on December 30th. His father also became ill and was hospitalized this week. When watching their sister, Catlin asked how long he could get back to work. He saw it as a way to escape mourning and regain a sense of normalcy.
"I think it's ridiculous. He has dedicated so much of his life to Walmart, "said one sister, Amber Piermattei. "Even if he does not get his job back, it's important that we educate him about it."
Walmart spokesperson Kory Lundberg said the transition to host host positions began in 2016 and has since expanded to more than 1,000 stores. This adds more responsibility and more compensation to the greeter position, he said.
Lundberg said the store management had consulted Catlin to apply for the new job or other positions in the store.
"As we have done in other places where we have added customer centers, our management team will continue to support our associates in finding other vacancies in and around the store," said Lundberg. .
A photo montage of Catlin winning a gold medal at a Special Olympics national competition was still hanging Tuesday in the store near the customer service center.
Kira Leitzel of Herndon and Judd Long of Sunbury are doing weight training with Catlin.
"I have had the privilege of raising and competing with Adam and he has the kind of spirit that is defined by perseverance," said Leitzel. "Whoever gives Adam a minute of his time has a piece of his heart."
"I mean as soon as you greet him, you got hooked on his smile," Long said. "It's so contagious to be here, he wants you to smile and he really thinks it when he asks you how you go or tell you to have a good day."
Brian Habermehl works for The Arc, Susquehanna Valley. He leads self-advocacy groups in programs designed to help people with disabilities or special needs become self-reliant. He also has cerebral palsy.
Asked about the type of message sent by Walmart, Habermehl replied "the bad".
"Adam is an accomplished athlete, a ray of sunshine. Walmart himself has a picture of him hanging in his shop, near the registers, "Habermehl said.
NEWARK, N.J. – Adam Catlin's family can not be more proud of the 26-year-old Middleburger who works as a caretaker at Wal-Mart in S …
"If Walmart does not want it, I'll gladly take it with him," said Stacy Wagner-Napoli, owner of Rocco's Pizza, Selinsgrove. "Who would not want Adam as an employee? I think he's unbelievable and loyal. Every time you're in a bad mood and you go into Walmart, you see him and his smile is contagious, you stop and smile with him. "
Catlin hopes to keep the job he likes.
"I love everyone there and they are all part of my family and I would really miss it," Catlin said.