Wal-Mart abruptly closed five stores earlier this month and laid off more than 2,200 employees in the process.

The company said it closed the stores because of severe plumbing problems that, in addition to other potential upgrades, could take as long as six months to fix.

Critics have questioned the closures, with some contending that at least one store was closed in retaliation against worker protests for higher pay. Wal-Mart denies those claims.

Wal-Mart notified workers of the closures a couple of hours ahead of time and gave them a packet of information addressing the situation, according to OUR Walmart, a labor group representing the laid-off workers.

In the handout, the company offers workers "stress management tips" to cope with their loss of employment such as avoiding caffeine, chocolate, nicotine, and alcohol.

"Care for yourself by eating well, exercising, and resting when needed," Wal-Mart advises, according to photos of the handout provided to Business Insider by OUR Walmart. (Gawker first reported on the handout).

The handout also encourages workers to seek help from a professional counselor and assures that "difficulty sleeping, nightmares, flashbacks, and feelings of being 'hyper-alert' are common and will diminish in time."

The company sheds more light on the plumbing issues in a question-and-answer section of the handout.

"Did these plumbing issues create a healthy or safety concern for customers and associates?" the handout reads. "No. These incidents impact the availability of water and create drainage issues for critical areas of the store, such as the deli sections, which impact our ability to serve customers."

The company says it plans to reopen the stores and that employees are welcome to apply for positions at other stores. In the meantime, it will provide workers with résumé-building services, interview coaching, and two months of severance pay.

"The store has a strong customer base and is part of the reason we have made the decision to invest in improving the store," the handout says. "We plan to reopen once the improvements are completed."

We reached out to Wal-Mart for comment on the handout and will update when we hear back.

In a statement to Consumerist, a Wal-Mart spokesman said:

Whenever we have a situation that impacts our associates our goal is to provide them information that will help answer their questions, as well as provide guidance to resources and other information that would help through any transition. The 'coping with transition' document is a standard resource we provide associates to help them manage the difficulties of discussing any type of work transition with others. It's unfortunate that our critics are attempting to minimize this process by conveniently excluding all the other valuable information our associates received and need during this time.

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