LINDEN, Mich. - A man whom Walmart fired for aiding an assault victim in the store's parking lot rejected the store's offer to return to his job.
Kristopher Oswald, 30, of Linden, Mich., said Thursday that Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart has been "unwilling to compromise" in negotiating his return to his job, which he lost Oct. 15 after assisting a woman two days earlier who had screamed for help in the store parking lot.
"The entire situation has left me with incredible anxiety," Oswald said. "Walmart feels it's absolutely not their responsibility to help an associate harmed while on the clock. I have refused their offer to take my job back for fear of retaliation.
"They could not guarantee that nothing would happen from management if I did take my job," he said. "It's a day-to-day struggle. I feel like if I say the wrong thing, I'm going to have a company coming after me."
Oswald initially had said that work was scarce in the area in which he lives, about 45 miles northwest of Detroit, and that he fought hard to get his Walmart job about 20 miles from his house.
Messages to Walmart's corporate public information office for comment have not been returned.
Walmart fired Oswald, who had an $8.70-an-hour job stocking pet supplies overnight at Hartland, Mich., store, because it said he had violated company policy in helping the 18-year-old woman, whose former boyfriend was later arrested and charged with drunken driving, malicious destruction of property and domestic violence.
After Oswald's story was disseminated nationally and reaction against the company on social-media sites such as Twitter was scathing, the company reconsidered its stance Oct. 18 and offered Oswald his job back.
Oswald said he wants the company to issue a formal apology"and eliminate from his personnel record that he was fired for violating store policy.
Oswald said he tried to help the woman, but her alleged attacker, whom police identified as Dylan Tierney, 17, of Milford, Mich., assaulted him and threatened to kill him. The fight ended when Tierney and two friends who joined Tierney left after Oswald's co-workers came to his aid.
Livingston County Sheriff Bob Bezotte said the dispute between Tierney and his former girlfriend began earlier in the evening at a party. The woman was walking down the road when Tierney tried to stop her and get her to return to the party.
Then Tierney tried to run the woman over, Bezotte said, but she was able to move out of the way before he struck her. The victim had a girlfriend pick her up and transport her to the Hartland Walmart where she had parked her car, and Tierney and his two friends followed.
Tierney was taken into custody after tussling with Oswald when deputies stopped his vehicle, the sheriff said. Bezotte previously praised Oswald for getting involved and coming to the woman's assistance.
Tierney returns Tuesday to Livingston County District Court in Howell, Mich. He is free on a $1,000 bond, and that worries Oswald.
"He lives less than a half hour from my house," Oswald said. "And that concerns me."
(Copyright © 2013 USA TODAY)