A former Home Depot employee who claimed she was fired because of her disability was rehired following public backlash.
“Attention Home Depot Shoppers! Today my best friend Jessica Harmon was fired after dedicating the last 17 years to this company,” reads a post written by the sister of of the recently re-hired employee, Jessica Harmon. “I am asking all my family and friends to tell Home Depot to go to hell! Stop shopping there, write them a letter telling them how wrong they are. Please help me get the word out that she was wrongly fired!”
Jessica Harmon happily spent the last 17 years greeting customers with a smile on her face at her local Roseville, Calif. Home Depot— until her boss told her she had missed too many work days and was fired after her Tuesday, April 23 shift.
Harmon lives with cerebral palsy, a chronic neurological condition that most commonly affects an individual’s mobility. Harmon is wheelchair-bound and relies on caregivers 24/7 to get out of bed, take showers, dress and — most importantly — be transported to work. Harmon can’t help but miss work if a caretaker misses a shift or oversleeps, which was the case for a shift she missed two days prior to being let go.
“If I’m able to be there, I will always be there. I’m very dedicated to what I do,” Harmon told ABC10. Harmon once spent weeks memorizing the blueprints of her Home Depot store after a remodel so that could accurately guide customers to the items they were looking for. “I enjoy having a purpose in my life, and I’m lucky to have the job that I currently have…because it’s really hard to have a disability and find a job.”
For this reason, Harmon was devastated when her boss Adam fired her and allegedly “cashed her out and escorted her out of the store like she was a criminal.” Infuriated that Harmon was dismissed for reasons related to her disability, Harmon’s sister, Nicohl Voettner, refused to keep quiet. “Unless you make a big stance like this, things don’t change… We have a voice,” Voettner told ABC10.
The evening Harmon was fired, Voettner penned a long angry worded post on her personal Facebook account on behalf of Harmon.
“Jessica has struggled with major medical issues which at times [were] life-threatening and she was hospitalized yet all she worried about every time was if they were going to punish her at work or not,” Voettner explained of Harmon’s cerebral palsy, a condition requires lifelong care.
“Due to events completely out of her control she has missed her shifts, not because she was hungover… or didn’t want to go to work but because she was facing death or the last straw some jackass caregiver refuses to wake up in the morning, leaving her in bed and causing her [to] miss work. After explaining this to her boss Adam he basically told her it’s not his problem, after having her work all day. Then he cashed her out and escorted her out of the store like she was a criminal.”
Voettner then urged her Facebook friends to stop shopping at the Roseville location and write angry letters to the boss that discriminated Harmon for her cerebral palsy. “Please help me get the word out that she was wrongly fired!” she wrote with the Home Depot address.
After a local news station picked up the story and reached out to the company’s corporate office, Harmon was quickly given her job back. A Home Depot spokesperson Margaret Smith told Yahoo Lifestyle that local leadership had not been aware of Jessica’s dismissal.
“When we heard about this, we were deeply concerned. Home Depot’s HR leadership immediately looked into it and offered Jessica her job back today, which she accepted,” Smith wrote in an email.
Harmon denied Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for interview, but noted that “I’m just happy I got my job back.”
Harmon accepted her greeter position back on the condition that she be placed in a different store, to which Home Depot complied. Harmon began happily helping Home Depot customers again on April 25.
“Just don’t do this to another person with another disability. It sucks,” Harmon told ABC10. “I just want awareness that the fact that someone with a disability is never going to be able to change it, so whoever hired us, it doesn’t matter the disability, there’s got to be some…pretty serious understanding and agreement.”
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