I’m not sure I like how Home Depot handled this, even if they do have a policy for it.
According to this, a 70-year-old Army veteran named Jim Tinney lost his job at Home Depot after he confronted a group of shoplifters who were making off with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise –
Jim Tinney told KTRK-TV that while on the job, he saw three men bringing expensive tool sets up to the checkout area. He thought they were acting nervous.
“One of them hollered ‘let’s go,’ and they all grabbed their kits and started heading out,” Tinney recalled.
Reacting instinctively, Tinney said he threw the paint roller extension he was holding at them, hitting one of the shoplifters in the foot. No one was injured and the men successfully fled the scene.
“In the Army, they train you to do things like that,” Tinney said. “I just automatically went like this and threw the stick at their feet.”
Granted, I’ve never been someone’s boss or a supervisor in any kind of capacity, but I would think that an employer would be glad that an employee took the initiative and tried to stop a group of ne’er-do-wells trying to steal a crapload of products from my store. Even if he wasn’t successful in stopping them, at least Tinney could provide a description to the police or something.
But rather than be praised for his efforts, Tinney received a notice two weeks later that he was being fired for his actions. Apparently, Home Depot has a policy of not allowing employees to confront shoplifters, instead leaving trained security to handle such matters –
Home Depot Director of Corporate Communications Stephen Holmes told KTRK in a written statement that the policy is in place to keep their employees safe, something they take very seriously.
“What I can tell you now is that we have a strict policy that only our trained security personnel can pursue and engage shoplifters. We’ve had deaths and serious injury over the years, and no amount of merchandise is more important than the safety of our associates and customers,” Holmes wrote.
Okay, fine. It’s a safety matter. I can understand that. But to FIRE the guy for stopping someone who is doing harm to your business? Write him up or reprimand him for what he did if you want. But to force him out of a job for doing something that he says was instinctual? (And that’s even before we ask where the trained security was in this instance.)
That’s overkill, if you ask me.