Friday, June 26, 2009

Disabled Kmart greeter says he faced discrimination


NORFOLK, Va. – "I didn't think they would do anything like that, not, not Kmart,” Alonzo McGlone tells 13News. “It through me, you know, it hurt."

In 2004, McGlone began working as a greeter at the Super Kmart on Military Highway. On day three of the job, he said good-bye, but not by choice. McGlone explains that a supervisor told him he had to go.

"He said he couldn't use me, because I used a cane. I couldn't run behind nobody if they stole something,” McGlone remembers, adding, “That's not the greeter's job.”

McGlone says the supervisor wasn’t the person who hired him, but he was up front about his disability. He hurt his back during his days as a Merchant Marine. Before starting the job at Kmart, he worked security for five years. McGlone left that job when the retailer hired him to greet people.

“I showed ‘em paperwork and everything, you know, from my doctors and everything showing that I used a cane and everything was correct,” says McGlone. “It was crazy, man, you know. I didn't understand it, you know. I never been through nothing like that before, you know, so I didn't, I didn't think things like that happen, that they do people like, disabled people, anyway."

McGlone turned to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which, five years later, has filed a lawsuit on the former greeter’s behalf. The EEOC believes the retailer discriminated against McGlone because of his disability. The suit comes after the commission tried to reach an out-of-court settlement.

A news release from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says, “The EEOC's lawsuit seeks reinstatement of McGlone into his former position or an equivalent one, as well as back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. The EEOC also seeks an injunction ordering Kmart to institute and carry out policies, practices, and training programs which provide equal employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, and a work environment free from disability discrimination.”

McGlone tells 13News he has no desire to return to work at the Super Kmart, but would welcome any monetary compensation that comes as a result of the legal action. For the 57-year-old there is more at stake than money.

"Some satisfaction, you know, make sure this don't happen to somebody else,” he says. “That was really the whole, you know, that’s why I went to EEOC. I said, ‘Well, if they'll do it to me, they'll do it to somebody else."