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June 16, 2005
Wal-Mart Nixes 'Open Availability' Policy

Wal-Mart headquarters overruled a policy decision by one of its store's that would have terminated any worker who failed to agree to be available to work any shift between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., seven days a week, according to the Charleston Gazette (West Virginia).

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The Nitro, West Virginia, store announced its "open availability" policy to employees earlier this week, drawing criticism from employees and worker advocates.

A corporate spokesperson says the company reversed the store's decision because Wal-Mart has no policy that calls for the termination of employees who are unable to work certain shifts, the Gazette reports.

"It is unfortunate that our store manager incorrectly communicated a message that was not only inaccurate but also disruptive to our associates at the store," Dan Fogleman tells the Gazette. "We do not have any policy that mandates termination."

A single mother who expected to be fired tells the newspaper that she is relieved that the company overruled the decision by the Nitro store.

"That was the one great thing about Wal-Mart," says the three-year employee, referring to the company's flexibility when it came to scheduling. "I'm thoroughly excited now."

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