Dollar Tree Is Under Fire for These "Disturbing" Violations in Stores
Some alarming inspections have led to serious trouble for the dollar store company.
When it comes to the most widespread discount shopping opportunities in the U.S., you have one company to thank: Dollar Tree. The low-cost retailer has been in business for over six decades, with steady growth year after year through newly opened Dollar Tree stores. And in 2015, the company acquired another popular discount chain, Family Dollar. Since joining forces, the two have expanded to a total of more than 15,000 Family Dollar and Dollar Tree stores throughout the country. With such a large footprint, it's no surprise that there have been some hurdles along the way, and now the Dollar Tree company has come under fire for some serious violations in Family Dollar stores. Read on to find out what an investigation is calling "disturbing."
Dollar Tree faced a major FDA investigation into Family Dollar this year.
Dollar Tree has faced a substantial amount of controversy in 2022. Back in January, a Family Dollar distribution facility in West Memphis, Arkansas, was investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), revealing a number of unsanitary conditions that included a major rodent infestation where more than 1,100 dead rodents were uncovered following a fumigation. This prompted the temporary closure of more than 400 Family Dollar stores throughout six states and a massive recall of products distributed to these locations.
Following subsequent boycott threats and a lawsuit filed by Arkansas State Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, it was announced in May that the Dollar Tree company would be closing the Arkansas facility permanently. By the end of June, the Family Dollar distribution center had stopped shipping to stores after the company decided the facility was not adequate to "continue serving the needs and requirements of our stores and customers," Randy Guiler, vice president of investor relations for Dollar Tree Inc., told The New York Times.
Now, Family Dollar has put Dollar Tree back on the defensive over more in-store violations.
The dollar store company has been called out for new violations.
Another January inspection has exacerbated Dollar Tree's problems. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a report on Aug. 1, noting that they found numerous "hazardous conditions" at two Family Dollar stores in Ohio through inspections that took place earlier this year.
"In both inspections, OSHA found hazards related to, obstructed egress, unstable stacks, inaccessible electrical equipment and fire extinguishers, as well as trip and fall hazards caused by water, carts, boxes, trash and merchandise spread throughout walking-working surfaces in the retail areas and storerooms," the agency said.
Dollar Tree has been fined more than $1 million over these inspections.
The two Ohio inspections have resulted in the Dollar Tree corporation being fined more than $1.2 million in penalties for multiple violations. According to the report, OSHA initiated an inspection of a Family Dollar store on Dunham Road in Maple Heights, Ohio, on Jan. 31 after receiving an employee report concerning unsafe conditions. Following the inspection, the agency issued citations for one repeat violation regarding portable fire extinguishers not being readily accessible and four willful violations. The company was hit with proposed penalties of $685,777 as a result.
Then on Feb. 10, OSHA began an inspection at a Family Dollar store on Lockbourne Road in Columbus, Ohio. According to the agency, this inspection was opened "in response to an employee complaint of water leaking through the ceiling causing wet floors and ceiling tiles on the floor." The company was cited for one serious violation, one repeat violation, and four willful violations at this store, resulting in a proposed total of $547,587 worth of penalties.
OSHA says Dollar Tree and Family Dollar have a "disturbing" history with safety violations.
It's not just the two Ohio stores that are raising a red flag. OSHA said there is are substantial ongoing concerns with the Dollar Tree company, claiming that the dollar chain company "continues to expose employees to the risk of injuries by flagrantly ignoring workplace safety regulations." The agency—along with state OSHA programs—has conducted more than 500 inspections at Family Dollar and Dollar Tree locations since 2017, finding more than 300 violations.
"Family Dollar and Dollar Tree stores have a long and disturbing history of putting profits above employee safety," Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker said in a statement. "Time and time again, we find the same violations—blocked or obstructed emergency exits and aisles, boxes of merchandise stacked high or in front of electrical panels and fire extinguishers. Each hazard can lead to a tragedy."