A Wal-Mart employee was fired for reportedly taking too long to turn in $350 he found in the parking lot.
Michael Walsh, 45, was fired from his job as a maintenance worker at Wal-Mart in Niskayuna, New York, in November 2015, according to the Albany Times Union. Walsh had reportedly been working for Wal-Mart for 18 years when he was terminated.
Days before his termination, Walsh was working in the store’s parking lot when he found a $5 bill on the ground, which he immediately turned over to store management. When he returned to the lot, he discovered more cash, in stacks of $10 and $20 bills.
The cash was reportedly scattered all around the lot and did not come with an envelope or identification. In total, Walsh found $350 in the parking lot.
Walsh said he finished what he was doing in the lot before collecting all of the cash, counting it and putting it into his pants pocket. He then walked inside to turn the cash in to management. When he entered the establishment, he overheard a confrontation between store managers and an upset customer.
“A woman was yelling at a manager, freaking out that she lost her money and I got nervous,” Walsh, who suffers from anxiety, told the Albany Times Union. “I kind of froze and didn’t want any trouble.”
Rather than immediately handing over the cash, Walsh cleaned the bathrooms first. Roughly 30 minutes after he first discovered the money, it was turned in to management.
According to Walsh, a manager took the money and said nothing about it initially. Two days later, Walsh says he was called into the office and informed that he was being fired for “gross misconduct” because he had waited too long hand in the cash.
During the meeting, the managers reportedly showed Walsh time-lapse video of him finding the cash in the parking lot and holding it for 30 minutes before turning it in. The maintenance worker was then asked to sign a statement, of which he never received a copy, and to hand in his employee badge and discount card.
Walsh was previously employed for 10 years at another Wal-Mart location in Glenville, New York, before relocating to the Niskayuna store. He said that in all the years he had worked for Wal-Mart, he was never provided with official rules or guidelines as to what to do with lost items found on store property.
“I enjoyed my job, I was a good employee and always got to work on time,” Walsh added.
Walsh said that at the end of his time at Wal-Mart, he was “treated like a common criminal.”
Walsh said the timing of his termination was particularly difficult because he will not receive his 20 percent holiday discount or the lifelong 10 percent discount awarded to workers after 20 years of employment.
Walsh has applied for maintenance jobs at Target, Lowe’s, BJ’s, ShopRite and Ellis Hospital, and is currently still looking for work.
Both the manager of the Niskayuna store and a representative for Wal-Mart corporate declined to comment on the incident when contacted by the Albany Times Union.