By Lisa Maria Garza
(Reuters) - A Michigan man rejected an offer from Wal-Mart Stores Inc to rehire him after he was fired for helping a woman who was being attacked in the store parking lot during his meal break.
Kristopher Oswald, 30, who worked nights stocking shelves at a Wal-Mart store in Hartland Township, located northwest of Detroit, said on Friday that he does not feel safe going back to work.
"I believe my job was only offered to me because of the negative publicity they received," Oswald said. "There is no way I can expect to walk in as if I was a new hire and everything would be OK."
A spokeswoman for Wal-Mart said the company has a strict policy against retaliation and offered to accommodate Oswald with safety measures such as an escort to and from his vehicle into the store.
"His position is still open to him now if he wants to come back to the store. We'd welcome him back," company spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said.
She also said the company offered to reimburse Oswald for lost wages.
Wal-Mart said Oswald's initial firing resulted from his violation of company policy that requires employees to alert store management and call police instead of intervening in dangerous situations.
Publicity about the firing prompted Wal-Mart's corporate office to review the parking lot security footage and police report, Buchanan said. Oswald, a temporary employee who had worked seven weeks for the company prior to the incident, was offered his job back.
"Everyone makes mistakes and so do companies," Buchanan said.
Oswald was sitting in his car around 2:30 a.m. on October 13, eating a sandwich, when he heard a woman scream, he said. A man was sprawled on the hood of the woman's car. When she tried to pry him off her vehicle, he attacked her.
Oswald said he confronted the man, who then began punching him in the head and threatening to kill him. He was able to subdue the man, but then two other men jumped him from behind.
Local authorities arrived on the scene and quickly broke up the fight.
Oswald said he is seeking therapy to work through the trauma of the attack.
"I'm being haunted by this incident because I'm not a violent person," Oswald said. "All I did was what anyone should have done in that situation."
(Reporting by Lisa Maria Garza; Editing by Greg McCune and Bob Burgdorfer)