No good deed goes unpunished


Old 06-21-07, 03:13 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Frozen Tundra, WI
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No good deed goes unpunished

Two recent events, reported in Jacksonville, FL, makes one wonder what is wrong with people.

Event 1, a man, employed as an apartment grounds employee (not sure of position) hears a gunshot and a woman scream in a nearby apartment. He grabs a shotgun (a wise thing if one is considering saving a woman who has just been shot... and do not want her to bleed to death while waiting for the police), goes to her apartment and does what is necessary to save her life. He is rewarded by his employer (the apartment complex) by getting fired!! Why, because he was "brandishing a firearm" at his place of employment (he was not even on the job at the time) and did not inform his supervisor until the next morning (the event took place at 2AM). Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this?

Event 2, an employee of a box store sees 2 people shoplifting and follows them into the parking lot. He stops them before they can load the $1100 worth of stolen goods into their car and saves the store some cash. The store rewards him with a trip to the unemployment office. Why? Because he was expected to find a security person and have them handle it.

In both cases I can almost understand an employee being commended, but also warned of the potential danger they may have put themselves in. But to fire people for taking measures to do what was right is nuts!! Can someone explain the logic of the employers (I think some management people need to join the new members of the unemployment team).
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Old 06-21-07, 04:53 AM
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I would wonder why the grounds keeper was at the complex if he was not on duty, unless he just happens to live in the same complex. Then it depends on what his employers requirements are.

As for the box store, most retail establishments of any size have strict policies regarding the approach, detention or apprehension of suspected shoplifters. This is as much for the employees safety as for the liability of the company when they (and the employee) are sued because either the suspect got hurt, was innocent, etc. Or if the employees family sues because the employee got shot chasing the suspect. $1100 in lost goods is small price to pay compared to a victims lawsuit, regardless of whether the 'victim' is the suspect or the employee.

Look at it this way, if that shoplifter had brandish a firearm, started shooting and killed 6 people, people would be saying 'well if they had just let the police handle it instead of chasing he/she out of the store, he/she wouldn't have opened fire in a crowded parking lot'.

And successful shoplifters ALWAYS return to try again and are in fact often ALLOWED to do so. Four separate instances of theft on film hold up a lot better in court than one. Just because you didn't get stopped doesn't mean you didn't get caught.
Old 06-21-07, 05:50 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Frozen Tundra, WI
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In the case of the apartment, he lived a few doors down, so he was not on duty. Taking a firearm for protection is hardly brandishing a firearm.

In both cases they put their lives (more so in the shooting than shoplifting) on the line to either save the life of another individual or, in general, help their employer and they get punished for it.

I know I would have probably gone by the book in the shoplifting incident, supposedly there are people employed to handle such situations. As a boss, I probably would have told the man, "Good job, thanks, you do it again, you're fired, don't be stupid". In the case of the apartment employee, I am sure the person he saved is quite happy he lived next door and not the apartment management (who would have sat around, waiting for her to bleed to death). I would have acted no differently in that case. What is smarter, trying to save a life, unarmed, after hearing a gunshot, or going in prepared for anything?
Old 06-21-07, 06:08 AM
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Of course the possibility exists that there's more to the stories than meets the eye. Wouldn't be the first time the news people left out some important details on a news story because it made better copy. Like maybe the guy at the apartment complex was more trouble (generally) than he was worth (and/or had played Matt Dillon one time too many) and maybe the guy at the box store had been previously warned, etc, etc.
Old 06-21-07, 02:24 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Frozen Tundra, WI
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You're right, there are always 2 sides to every story and we only "know" one of them (the media has never blown things out of proportion ). It just makes for horrid relations to fire someone for doing something that many consider right, when there are probably a million things they could have been fired for prior to doing the right thing (both companies, in one way or another, admitted these were the reasons for dismissal).

I just can't see how a person can be fired because they carried (not fired) a legal weapon to a place where gunshots rang out seconds before in order to save a life. The reasons stated, brandishing a legal firearm and not calling the supervisor. If you want to fire the guy, wait until you have a better reason.

As for the shoplifter stopper, think of a better reason to fire someone than going out of his way to save the company money. If there was concern, coach as to why he should not have done that, thank him, and tell him next time he puts himself in a such a position he will be fired.

I just think anyone in a management position who can justify disciplinary action for a positive action and not expect media fallout should not be in a position of authority.

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