Walmart employee who uses wheelchair offered new position after claim of discrimination

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STREETSBORO, Ohio (WJW)-- A Ravenna man who uses a wheelchair says he was placed on 12-weeks unpaid leave at his job at Walmart. It happened just days after his request for accommodations with the company was denied.

"Scared, I'm not really sure how I'm going to pay my bills," Robert Caetta said.

The 67-year-old said he worked as a greeter and later, a customer host for more than four years at the Streetsboro store. Caetta said a change in duties for customer hosts requires they be able to stand and lift 25-pound packages.

"Are those requirements really necessary or are they put in there just to exclude people like me in wheelchairs from holding that job?" he said.

Shortly after FOX 8's interview with Caetta and numerous messages to Walmart officials, a company spokesperson said they offered Caetta a new position Monday afternoon. A spokesperson sent the following statement:

“We’re excited Robert has accepted a new role in his store allowing him to continue serving as a valued member of the team. The Self-Checkout host helps customers using the self checkouts in the store. We are working with him to make some adjustments and provide some assistance that we believe will allow him to be successful in the new role.”

Caetta said he was placed on unpaid leave Thanksgiving week, a surprise, he says, since he was able to execute his job without needing to lift heavy packages. While Caetta said he preferred to remain a customer host, he is eager to begin working again.

"To be honest I'd like my job back. I miss all of the people I worked with; they were fantastic. I miss the customers. I certainly miss the children," Caetta said.

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