Grocery worker [Whole Foods Market] fired for stopping shoplifter [MI]

This is a discussion on Grocery worker [Whole Foods Market] fired for stopping shoplifter [MI] within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; As reported by MLive.com: Grocery worker fired for stopping shoplifter by Dave Gershman | The Ann Arbor News Thursday December 27, 2007, 8:15 AM "The ...

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Thread: Grocery worker [Whole Foods Market] fired for stopping shoplifter [MI]

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Grocery worker [Whole Foods Market] fired for stopping shoplifter [MI]

    As reported by MLive.com:

    Grocery worker fired for stopping shoplifter

    by Dave Gershman | The Ann Arbor News
    Thursday December 27, 2007, 8:15 AM

    "The fact that I worked at the store at (the time of the robbery) is coincidental. If I had went over to the book store on my break and they were being ripped off, I would have helped them." - fired worker John Schultz

    "The fact that he touched him, period, is means for termination," - Kate Klotz, Whole Foods spokeswoman.

    BY DAVE GERSHMAN
    The Ann Arbor News

    John Schultz says he lost his job at Whole Foods Market in Ann Arbor after he tried to stop a shoplifter from making a getaway. But the company says he went too far and violated a policy that prohibits employees from physically touching a customer - even if that person is carrying a bag of stolen goods.

    Schultz says he had just punched out for a break at 7 p.m. on Sunday when he heard a commotion at the front door of the store, 3135 Washtenaw Ave. He said he came to the aid of the manager who yelled for help in stopping a shoplifter. Schultz, the manager and another employee cornered the shoplifter between two cars in the parking lot.

    Schultz said he told the shoplifter he was making a citizens arrest and to wait for the police to arrive, but the shoplifter broke away from the group and ran across Washtenaw Avenue and toward a gas station at the corner of Huron Parkway.

    Before the man could cross Huron Parkway, Schultz caught up and grabbed the man's jacket and put his leg behind the man's legs. When the manager arrived at the intersection, Schultz said, the manager told him to release the shoplifter, and he complied, and the shoplifter got away.

    Schultz said he was called to the store's office the next day, on Christmas Eve, and was fired because he violated a company policy prohibiting employees from having any physical contact with a customer.

    Kate Klotz, a company spokesperson, said the policy is clear and listed in a booklet that all employees have to acknowledge that they received before they can start work.

    "The fact that he touched him, period, is means for termination," said Klotz.

    Schultz said he acted as a private citizen on property that isn't owned by Whole Foods, but Klotz said where the incident happened doesn't change the policy.

    "He is still considered an employee of Whole Foods Market regardless of where he was and what was happening," she said.

    The police report of the incident doesn't mention Schultz's involvement. It says police responded to the call of retail fraud at 7:09 p.m. and could not locate the shoplifter.

    The thief was described as a thin white male, 5-foot-10, in his mid-20s, wearing a black jacket, tan pants and carrying a backpack.

    The report says store employees were suspicious when the man walked into the store and they watched as he filled up a basket and then took it into a bathroom. When he came out, his basket was empty, but his backpack looked full. Then he filled up a canvas store tote bag with groceries, and walked out the door.

    The manager and the other employee told police they caught up to the shoplifter at the corner of Washtenaw and Huron Parkway. It says one of them grabbed the tote bag away from the shoplifter, and the suspect walked away. The bag contained $346 worth of food and other products.

    Schultz, 35, of Ypsilanti Township, had worked at the store for five years, most recently as a fishmonger. He wants his job back.

    "The fact that I worked at the store at (the time of the robbery) is coincidental," he said. "If I had went over to the book store on my break and they were being ripped off, I would have helped them."

    Reporter Dave Gershman can be reached at 734-994-6818 or dgershman@annarbornews.com.

    The story can be found at: http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/...for_stopp.html

    - Janq

    Counterpoint: This story is interesting to me. I shop often at Whole Foods Market, have been doing so for like 13 yrs. now. Hell my wife got my sister inlaw a job with one of their stores in VA years ago.
    We spend _alot_ of money there.
    They say they have a policy that "prohibits employees from physically touching a customer". Okay.
    Well then why is it that my local Whole Foods Market has an A.E.D. (automated external defibrillator) hung on the wall at the customer checkout area. Who is expected to operate that device? A Whole Foods employee? I think not because they are not allowed to physically touch me, much less lift my shirt and apply electrodes to my chest for purposes of shocking me back from cardiac arrest. Do they expect a citizen customer will step forward and read the instruction booklet to save the day? I don't understand.
    Oh, and since when is a person who steals from a store, a shoplifter, become considered to be a "customer"?
    In order to be a customer by definition per the folks at Merriam-Webster; "One that purchases a commodity or service". A thief is not a customer.
    Laying hands on a thief is not a bad thing to do. Just as laying hands to a customer who may be suffering from cardiac arrest is not something that should punished by firing either.
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    Another interesting point to this is he had just "punched out on break". Since her was not on the clock and the incident did not take place on company property. How do they come up with the idea he violated company policy?

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    VIP Member Array stormbringerr's Avatar
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    he should get his job back.i cant stand the way we have become such pushovers in this country.whole foods gets( my wimp company of the month award)... you cant touch me,i ripped off whole foods.
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    Senior Member Array Duisburg's Avatar
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    well we all know where to get free food now
    I am sworn to protect the Constitution of the U.S.A. from all threats both foreign and domestic.

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    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    Another interesting point to this is he had just "punched out on break". Since her was not on the clock and the incident did not take place on company property. How do they come up with the idea he violated company policy?
    Funny thing, that. The lamer your job and the less you get paid, the more likely the company is to assert that their policies apply to you whether you are on the clock or not.

    We should find out if lima is allowed to carry when visiting her gun shop when she is not working there. There have been several threads here (and I apologize for having no specific references) where 'no carry by employees' (but where legal CCW-licensed customers can carry) is enforced even when the employee is in the store as a customer.

    "He is still considered an employee of Whole Foods Market regardless of where he was and what was happening," [the company flack] said.
    See? You are an important representative of the Whole Foods image at every moment of every day, everywhere you are!

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    The manager YELLED FOR HELP to stop the shoplifter!

    Why didn't the company fire the manager?

    Oh, THAT'S DIFFERENT!

    --Travis--

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Error
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    "The fact that he touched him, period, is means for termination,"
    Crock of poo - totally. Whatever happened to extenuating circumstances.

    Consider this too - old lady shopping, looses her footing a bit and is near to taking a fall - so employees should not steady her and lose their job - rather than protect her from maybe a fractured hip??????

    The world is getting crazier by the minute.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    "The fact that he touched him, period, is means for termination," said Klotz.

    Schultz said he acted as a private citizen on property that isn't owned by Whole Foods, but Klotz said where the incident happened doesn't change the policy.

    "He is still considered an employee of Whole Foods Market regardless of where he was and what was happening," she said.

    Following their reasoning to its [il]logical conclusion (reductio ad absurdum), he completely and totally gave up his right to defend himself or even to touch another person (if they're a Whole Foods Market customer) in any location, and in any way, when he accepted employment with Whole Foods...if management doesn't like the result.

    Where did my America, the one I grew up in and served, go?

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    Senior Member Array DrLewall's Avatar
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    Perhaps a letter writting campaign to this company and maybe we can enchourage them to grow some backbone and at the same time, get them to hire this HERO back?

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    Anyone got an email for the corporate office - I will write a (politely) stinking letter
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    Distinguished Member Array P7fanatic's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    Another interesting point to this is he had just "punched out on break". Since her was not on the clock and the incident did not take place on company property. How do they come up with the idea he violated company policy?
    IMO it doesn't matter if he was punched in or out. It used to be that he would be applauded for what he did. He worked there for 5 years and now get fired for standing up for what's right and protecting the stores interest from a thief.
    He should be promoted to manager rather than be fired.
    If I shopped at any of the Whole Foods I would be letting them know that I could no longer continue supporting a store with such distorted policies.


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    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry View Post
    Anyone got an email for the corporate office - I will write a (politely) stinking letter
    customer.questions@wholefoods.com

    World Headquarters
    Whole Foods Market, Inc.
    550 Bowie Street
    Austin, TX 78703-4644
    512.477.4455
    512.477.5566 voicemail
    512.482.7000 fax

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    Let's see... so if his WIFE happens to be a Whole Foods customer... and our hero is OFF THE CLOCK... would he be fired for holding his wife's hand???

    Completely illogical - and morally reprehensible.

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    Thx chenemf - appreciate it ......

    Sent them this email

    Sirs,

    I heard today of an incident whereby one of your employees (John Schultz ) was fired for ''touching a customer'' at Whole Foods Market in Ann Arbor - despite the fact that he had not only clocked off but was apprehending a thief (the ''customer") -- information secured I believe from ...

    The Ann Arbor News
    Thursday December 27, 2007, 8:15 AM
    Article by by Dave Gershman.

    I am taking this information as accurate and if it is not please correct me.

    The company may well have a "no touching'' policy for its employeees ... but this strikes me as ridiculous in the extreme. Is thievery preferable to enforcing this policy? It would seem so. Where is the rule of law?

    I ask you this - if an employee sees an elderly lady stumble while shopping ..... are they to ignore this person and not help by steadying them - the better to maybe prevent a fractured hip?? Or do they watch - fearing for their job and let the person get injured.

    Sorry - ''policy'' has in my humble opinion gone beyond what is reasonable and the penalty suffered by this well-meaning employee is way beyond fair. It's one thing to rule that employees do not touch customers in perhaps a ''suggestive '' manner but this surely is extenuating circumstances.

    Were I to be a shopper at one of your stores, be assured, my business would be withheld for all eternity.

    Chris
    =====
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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