Wal-Mart offers to rehire employee fired for aiding attacked woman

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 18, 2013 6:51 PM

By Lisa Maria Garza

(Reuters) - A Michigan man who was fired by Wal-Mart after he defended a woman who was attacked in a store parking lot during his meal break has been offered his job back, the company said on Friday.

Kristopher Oswald, 30, who worked at a Walmart store in Hartland Township, located northwest of Detroit, was dismissed on Sunday for violating company policy, company spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said.

"The protocol is when you do see something, you alert store management and call the police. That's in place for the safety of our associates so they don't feel compelled to get into a situation that may be dangerous," Buchanan said.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc said media coverage prompted its corporate office to review the parking lot security footage and police report. Oswald, a temporary employee who had worked nights stocking shelves, was contacted on Friday with an offer to return to his job.

"While Mr. Oswald did violate one of our policies at the time, we now have found his intentions were good," Buchanan said.

The company said it has not heard from Oswald about the rehire offer. Oswald did not respond to requests from Reuters for comment.

Oswald was sitting in his car around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, eating a sandwich, when he heard a woman scream, he said in an interview with television station WXYZ-TV in Detroit. A man was sprawled on the hood of the woman's car. When she tried to pry him off her vehicle, he attacked her.

"This was just intimidation, aggression and bullying I saw from a male, belligerent suspect on a defenseless woman," Oswald said in a video of the interview posted online.

Oswald said he confronted the man, who then began punching him in the head and threatening to kill him. Oswald said he was able to subdue the man, but that two other men then jumped on him from behind.

Livingston County sheriff's deputies arrived on the scene and quickly broke up the fight, Oswald said.

Oswald had been working for Wal-Mart for about seven weeks and was not yet considered a permanent employee.

(Reporting by Lisa Maria Garza; Editing by Greg McCune and Leslie Adler)