Wal-Mart Sick Policy Creates Flu 'Threat,' Say Critics

Report: Ill workers are pressured to report for duty
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2009 5:59 PM CST
A Wal-Mart store.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

(Newser) – WalMart is taking heat for a restrictive policy that critics say pressures sick workers to go to work, swine flu be damned. Employees who take absences for an illness or a child’s illness rack up “points," and four points within a certain period can lead to termination. A workers' rights group blasted the policy in a new report this week. "They live in fear and dread," says the director of the National Labor Committee.

"I do believe Walmart is creating a public health threat by encouraging workers to come to work sick," a Drexel University public health professor tells ABC News. "It is in a position, as a retailer, to create particular exposures for the public.” One employee forced to take a demerit for her daughter's illness agrees: "We're doing everything we can to protect us and the customers, but they don't seem like they want to protect us from our jobs."