Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler

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Walmart still hasn't paid for 5-year-old death claims

Retail workers of North Carolina are likely aware of what a hectic time Black Friday can be. With the holiday madness and outrageously low prices on gifts, it's enough to bring out the worst in people -- and it often does. The people often hear about pushing through lines and even fighting for items, but the saddest of the stories are when innocent workers die in these fights, while just doing their job. Five years after a Walmart employee died in such an incident, the company still refuses to compensate for the death claims of the employee.

Black Friday gets bigger every year, and with that being said, employers need to take this into consideration when preparing for the safety of their workers. Enforced security and having a limited amount of people in the store at once are among the biggest ways to keep employees safe; however, these things are not always enforced. This is where OSHA comes in -- to protect the lives of the many employees affected by such working environments.

In 2008, shoppers literally busted down a door that the man was supposed to be guarding. While he was just a regular employee, and not security, it is likely he was ill-equipped to handle such a responsibility given to him by his employers. Walmart had only appointed one person to handle over 2,000 eager shoppers.

OSHA claims that there isn't a specific rule stating to protect workers from mobs of angry people, but what they do enforce is proper safety precautions to prevent any dangers to their employees. As a result of the increasing popularity and demand of Black Friday, Walmart should have known something like this could happen, OSHA claimed. According to OSHA, more could have been done to ensure the safety of this man.

Walmart is the biggest retailer in the world, averaging hundreds of billions of dollars in net worth. For apparently unknown reasons, Walmart is disputing and refusing to pay the $7,000 fine for death claims that OSHA had cited them. When North Carolina workers are killed on the job, there needs to be responsibility taken by the employers. Employees don't have to be voiceless as a result of employers not protecting their well-being. In a case like this one, where an employee is killed while doing his or her job, the victim's family may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits.

Source: Huffington Post, Walmart Still Hasn't Paid Its $7,000 Fine For 2008 Black Friday Death, Dave Jamieson, Nov. 21, 2013

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