Just last week a Walmart employee, Frank Swanson, was fired 20 days before completing 20 years of service as a cashier with the company.
Although Swanson's sister Babbi Marsh confirmed that her brother was terminated for excessive price matching, thousands of people are standing up for Swanson and planning a protest at the West Plains, Missouri, Walmart on Saturday to support him.
Swanson is extremely popular in the local community and is known for his hard work and willingness to hug customers.
A Walmart spokesperson says that Swanson was terminated because he violated a pricing policy.
"Letting an associate go is never easy. For this associate, point-of-sale policies had not been followed in some instances. A recent violation of those policies moved the associate to the final step of our discipline process, resulting in his dismissal," he stated.
Swanson is known to have gone against store policy on more than one occasion, as he discounted prices for merchandise, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Apparently, he had sold products at 50 cents cheaper than allowed after a customer claimed they were available at a lower price at another store. However, according to company policies, Swanson was supposed to ask the customer for a printed circular of the competitor’s price before giving the discount.
But Swanson’s supporters do not agree with this claim and believe that he was in fact fired for giving out hugs. They created a Facebook page, “Hugs for Frank,” where around 1,500 people say they will attend the protest to support him.
"So we're going to gather at Walmart on Saturday April 9th with signs or T-shirts offering free hugs. Let's do this for Frank,” the page reads.
"It appears Walmart fired workers for being decent and kind. So, if you believe in hugs or being nice to customers, don’t apply for a job at Walmart," said Jess Levin, communications director for a workers’ rights group called Making Change at Walmart.
Apparently, although employers at Walmart had previously claimed that Swanson’s hugs were inappropriate, they insisted that he was not fired for the same reason. The protest in Swanson’s support will be held on April 9.