Kmart will open its doors at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day this year and remain open for 42 hours, meaning that many employees will have to come to work to staff shifts. While the company says it tries to fill the slots with volunteers or seasonal hires, workers are reporting that the reality on the ground is very different.
Jillian Fisher, who started a petition on Coworker.org asking Kmart to give her mother and other employees the flexibility to take the holiday off, surveyed 56 self-identified employees from more than 13 states. Of those, just three said they had the option to ask to take the holiday off. In a press release from the petition organizer, one employee said human resources has told them, “if you do not come to work on Thanksgiving, you will automatically be fired… I made the request to work a split shift on Thanksgiving and was denied.” Another said, “Our manager stated at a staff meeting: ‘Everyone must work Thanksgiving and Black Friday. No time off.’” At one location, an employee says signs have been posted in the break room saying workers can’t request time off on Thanksgiving or Black Friday and that everyone has to put in at least some time on both, while at another signs have been posted saying no one can request time off between November 15 and January 1.
“I am a lead at a Kmart and it is mandatory for me to work on Thanksgiving,” another employee said. “If I were to call out I would be terminated, and requesting off is not allowed.”