HARTLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A man who was fired by a Wal-Mart store in Michigan after interrupting an assault in the parking lot said Friday he would reject the offer to return to work.
Kristopher Oswald, 30, said he believes public attention has embarrassed Wal-Mart and that the Bentonville, Ark.-based company would look for reasons to fire him again, although a spokeswoman said there would be no retaliation.
"I wholeheartedly believe I'm being set up for the fall," Oswald told The Associated Press. "I believe the only reason I was offered my job back in the first place was that I was on TV. They got three days of bad publicity, people going in and protesting, saying they wouldn't shop there anymore."
On Thursday, he told the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus he wanted a formal apology and the firing for violating store policy be removed from his personnel record.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan told the AP that Wal-Mart had apologized and had a strict policy against retaliation. She said there would be no mention of the dismissal in Oswald's file.
"The offer's on the table," she said. "If he wants to come back to Wal-Mart, we will assure he will not be retaliated against and we will provide safe working conditions for him."
She said the company also had offered to reimburse Oswald for lost wages.
Oswald has said he was on his break at the store in Hartland Township northwest of Detroit about 2:30 a.m. Oct. 13 when he saw a man grabbing a woman, who screamed for help. He said he intervened but the man attacked and threatened to kill him. Oswald said he was able to get on top of the man, but two others jumped him from behind.
The Daily Press & Argus reported the woman's assailant was a former boyfriend, who has been charged with domestic violence, drunken driving and malicious destruction of property.
"He lives less than a half-hour from my house, and that concerns me," Oswald said.
Buchanan said the decision to fire Oswald was made locally, in keeping with corporate policy. But company officials reversed the decision after studying police reports, interviewing witnesses and reviewing surveillance footage, Buchanan said.
Oswald told the AP he'd consider returning if convinced Wal-Mart's promises of no retaliation were true. But he said, "I'm not naive enough to think that everything's going to go back to normal after this."
He said he had received other job offers but his most immediate concern was dealing with anxiety from the assault, for which he's getting therapy.