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      Lawmaker fights unfair working conditions, store closes for repairs

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Richland County Representative Leon Howard has been urging customers to stop shopping at the Dollar General store on Oak Street in Columbia, until conditions improved.

      I received several phone calls from community members and employees of the store indicating that the conditions were very much inhumane," Howard explains.

      He says the air conditioner has not worked at the store for the last month.

      Howard says one worker was fired for complaining about the heat. However, Dollar General claims that's not the case.

      The downtown store temporarily shut down and employees moved to other stores while the problem is repaired.

      Dollar General says the repairs should take a couple of days. The store says they are aiming to open by the end of the week under much cooler conditions.

      "We are working hard to have the air conditioning units repaired at the Dollar General store on Oak Street. Employee safety is very important to us, and while extra fans have helped the situation, the wait for the necessary parts has taken longer than expected," says Tawn Earnest, Sr. Director of Corporate Communication for Dollar General. "Until parts arrive and repairs are made, the store will be closed and employees will be temporarily assigned to other stores. We look forward to re-opening the Oak Street store and continuing our service to shoppers by the end of the week, when repairs are expected to be completed."

      "In regard to employees being fired because of their concern about air conditioning: while our policy prohibits me from commenting specifically about the circumstances of a particular employee TMs departure from DG, I can say that no one was fired because of their concerns about the air conditioning. That is simply not true," Earnest adds.

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