STREETSBORO, Ohio – An Ohio man who uses a wheelchair says he was placed on 12 weeks unpaid leave from his job greeting customers at Walmart.
Robert Caetta, 67, told WJW he worked as a greeter and later, a customer host, for more than four years at the Streetsboro store. Caetta said a change in duties for customer hosts now requires they be able to stand and lift 25-pound packages.
"Are those requirements really necessary or are they put in there just to exclude people like me in wheelchairs from holding that job?" he said. With unpaid bills looming, he spoke to WJW about what happened.
Caetta said he filed a request for accommodations with Walmart after learning of the new job requirements. He said not only was his petition denied, he was placed on leave, beginning Thanksgiving week.
Shortly after WJW's interview with Caetta and numerous messages to Walmart officials, a company spokesperson said Monday afternoon that Walmart has offered Caetta a new position. A spokesperson sent the following statement:
“We’re excited Robert has accepted a new role in his store allowing him to continue serving as a valued member of the team. The Self-Checkout host helps customers using the self checkouts in the store. We are working with him to make some adjustments and provide some assistance that we believe will allow him to be successful in the new role.”
While Caetta said he preferred to remain a customer host, he is eager to begin working again.
"To be honest I'd like my job back. I miss all of the people I worked with they were fantastic. I miss the customers I certainly miss the children," Caetta said.