Roy Hall loved Home Depot. He was employed at the home improvement retail company for about five years and thought that was where he would earn his retirement. That all changed on June 22nd, when he was suddenly fired from his job at a St. Petersburg, Fla. location.
His employers, Hall said, claimed he was terminated because he had “failed to write up his associates” (we’ll get more into this a little later.)
Hall, however, isn’t buying that narrative, believing he was terminated because he was preparing to go in for hip replacement surgery, resulting in a lot of sick time off of the job, as well as triggering his employment disability benefits.
“Home Depot did me wrong, here. Thirty days prior to me having my surgery they going to terminate me.” Hall said in a viral video that he posted on to his social media last week.
On Facebook, the video garnered over 7 million views.
Hall, 58, who was the Department Supervisor of Kitchen & Bath and Plumbing, told The Root that he had known for quite some time that he would have to have surgery on both his hips. In January of this year, Hall informed his immediate supervisor at the time that the surgery was going to happen at some point this year. He just needed to lose some weight, per his doctor’s instructions.
Things became weird when Hall, who was at the time managing the Kitchen and Bath Department at Home Depot, was transferred over to the Plumbing Department, where he was told to make sure everyone did their job right and to help bring the numbers in the department up.
Around May, Hall said, he was brought in for a meeting with two managers, Assistant Store Manager Lee and Assistant Store Manager Steve, who sat him down in the office and reiterated the need for him to make sure that associates are interacting with customers.
By interacting with customers, that meant offering them services that they may need (to of course bring in more business).
“If a customer came by to pick up their air filter, [the associate] was supposed to say to the customer, ‘we offer an AC tuneup for $19, would you like to sign up?’ that’s pretty much it,” Hall explained. “If they didn’t do that then I would go and document it in their file and come back and talk to them about what they didn’t do.”
Hall acknowledges that he didn’t write up maybe two associates, due to issues with his own schedule, adding that he refused to write up what he himself didn’t see.
After having that conversation Hall was asked to sign a document, which he thought was just about the meeting and the fact that they had a conversation. He signed, only to later find out that the document noted that unless he writes up his associates and brings the numbers up in the department he was on final notice.
“This is not what we talked about in the meeting. We talked about observing associates and making sure they’re interacting with the customer. Why would you have me sign this paper?” Hall recalled.
Hall said he tried to schedule time to discuss the situation with his manager, Lee, however, he was always brushed off. Nonetheless, Hall said he followed orders and started writing his associates up. Everything was going well until the next roadblock came in June.
His doctor, pleased with his progress, scheduled his surgery for July 23. He went in and again let all the managers know. He then notified the corporate office in Atlanta, Ga., who requested that he and his doctor fill out some required paperwork. Those documents had to be submitted 30 days before the surgery, per corporate bylaws.
Around the same time, Hall was gathering his paperwork, he was promoted, he said, and given the second department to manage, now having a total of 10 employees he was supervising.
This promotion came the Monday before he was fired ... which came on a Friday, the same day he had his medical paperwork to turn in just before the required 30 days of submission.
“I’m on the floor all of a sudden they call me into the office. Lee and another store manager, Kelly, they said ‘Roy we’re going to terminate you because you didn’t write up the associate,’” he recalled.
Hall was stunned, noting that everything he had done, including all the write-ups, would have been documented.
“[I told them] ‘You guys are sitting here telling me I didn’t do my job. You have to understand I have my medical paperwork here so I can file for my surgery. I let you guys know when it was going to take place. All I have to do is show you guys a copy and fax it in,’” Hall remembers saying.
He was told that that was not going to be necessary as he was told to get his things together and leave, “They said, ‘well, you don’t have to do that now ... you’re no longer an employee of Home Depot.’”
The biggest concern for Hall now became how his family was going to manage with his operation without his income or his benefits buffering the impact of his surgery.
“You want to make sure your family is stable when you go down,” Hall told The Root, adding that he has filed a complaint with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance and is also seeking legal representation. “That was my greatest concern, making sure my family was taken care of…”
And more than anything he was hurt that a company that he has put so much in to treated him this way.
“I was the type of person I didn’t take a vacation. When it came to the end of the year, I’d have to take it or lose it that last week,” he said, noting at one point he dreamed about owning his own store.
When asked what he would like the outcome of any case brought forward to me, Roy is not so quick to answer.
“It’s one of those things it had hurt me so bad to say what I want, to be honest, I really can’t say I’m hurt, I’m disappointed in a company that I love,” he said. “Ideally you could say give me my job back, but you’ll still be up under the same people, so what kind of security would I be giving my family if I do that?
“I don’t know. It’s one of those things I have to sit down and talk to a lawyer because I don’t know what my options are,” he added.
As a Marine vet, Hall thinks its ludicrous that he was accused of not doing job, noting that “one thing I know is how to follow orders.”
To top it off, it makes him mad that this company, who claims to support vets, is treating a veteran and one of its employees this way.
“It’s hard to believe that you put out for your company and they do you this,” he added.
The Root reached out to Home Depot for a statement on Hall’s termination Company spokesperson Matt Harrigan noted:
I can assure you we did not terminate Roy because of an upcoming surgery, nor would we ever terminate an associate for that reason. In fact, we pay for thousands of surgeries every year.
Harrigan declined to give more insight into why Hall was fired, noting that he could not discuss details of personnel record.
As for Hall, the future is still somewhat uncertain. At 5:30 a.m on Monday morning he would have already been undergoing surgery on at least one hip (Hall informs us that if all goes well on that hip, doctors will immediately continue operating on the other.)
However, things are not so uncertain thanks to 99 kindhearted people who donated to a GoFundMe campaign in Hall’s honor, smashing his $3,000 goal out of the park in a mere two days.
“I want to take this time to thank you, America, for standing behind me” Hall said in another recent Facebook video posted to his page. “The support that you gave me, the motivation, encouragement, and blessings, it’s indeed an honor to be able to say thank you.”