Every lawyer and every well-trained security guard knows: Beware how to approach anyone suspected of attempting a five-finger discount.
Bungle that and the organization could be hammered with a major lawsuit, horrific publicity and a boycott by those who perceive any type of profiling.
Therefore, it is predictable that a Home Depot in Texas fired an employee who did not have the authority to confront alleged shoplifters. Since they were able to flee the store none of those awful things such as a lawsuit happened. At least not yet.
As the New York Post reports, long-term worker Jim Tinney took it upon himself to signal to the alleged shoplifters that he was onto them. Two weeks later he was fired.
Good riddance. That's exactly not the kind of employee retailers need in these litigious times.
When I was a contract security guard in a New Haven, Connecticut-based Home Depot, I had been trained by my employer Barton Protective Services never to accuse or confront. That was the function of the official loss-control Home Depot employees.
Some of them roamed the aisles in plain clothes. Others were offsite, monitoring on live video what was going down throughout the store and in the parking lot. In the latter there could be miscreants searching for discarded payment receipts. They would enter the store, snatch up an identical item, then attempt to have the purchase price returned at customer service.
Forever there was the anecdote floating around the store: One over-zealous security guard, as did Tinney, did take it upon herself to confront a man suspected of hustling out a drill. Of course, he went to the ER, then a personal injury lawyer.
She lucked out: She wasn't terminated, only knocked down from her supervisor position and placed in a boring office setting on the night shift. For those of us in security, retail was the plum placement. Lots of action, overtime and interesting co-workers between careers.
Displaced lawyers might consider a security guard job to get a feel for the needs of the security industry.
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