Nordstrom offered the following responses to RTV6's Rafael Sanchez's questions regarding the Whitney Walker story:
Can you comment about Ms. Walker’s case?
These situations are never easy. We have to balance the needs and safety of our employees going through tough situations such as this with the needs and safety of our employees and customers. In Ms. Walker’s case, we came to the conclusion that her continuing to report to work posed an extreme safety risk to Ms. Walker, her coworkers and our customers. As a result, we had to make the extremely difficult decision to separate her from Nordstrom. To provide her with resources to help her find a safer environment, we offered Ms. Walker financial support to help ease the transition.
What is Nordstrom’s policy in addressing employees with protective orders?
We take the safety of our employees and our customers very seriously. When an employee is in a domestic violence situation, we work closely with them to help ensure their safety in our store every day. This includes creating a workplace safety plan and maintaining ongoing communication with them about their situation, so that we may continue to keep them as safe as possible while they’re at work. In extreme situations, we retain the services of a national expert in workplace violence to help us with our assessment and approach.
What are the expectations of employees who filed a protective order?
We partner with the employee to understand the situation and develop a safety plan. We ask that employees be transparent with us so that we can best assess the impact the situation has on their safety and the safety of our other employees and customers. The information they share with us is confidential, and is treated as such. Our goal is not to invade their privacy, but to obtain the information needed to help ensure they, their co-workers and our customers can come to Nordstrom and feel protected and secure.
In this case, information Ms. Walker shared with us was treated with the highest confidentiality and only those employees who needed to know in order to protect her and her co-workers were informed.
What support if any provided to employees in this situation?
Every situation is unique. In addition to working with them to develop a safety plan, we have ongoing conversations about their situation so we can understand their ongoing individual needs and identify ways we can continue to help support them. This includes resources offered through our Employee Assistance Program.
Why did the company offer Whitney $5,000?
Our goal has always been to help ensure Ms. Walker’s safety. We hope the money we offered and paid to Ms. Walker will help her to reestablish herself in a safe environment.