The Water Cooler – Home Depot Employee Fired After Confronting Shoplifters

July 17, 2017 12:00 pm · 38 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon.

Today’s question:

A 70-year-old Home Depot employee was fired this week after he confronted a couple of shoplifters.

Do you think employees of any store who confront shoplifters should be fired, or do you think they should get away with a warning?

Talk about it….

I'll gladly pay you on Tuesday July 17, 2017 at 12:05 PM

They should be rewarded/celebrated!

And the right has it July 17, 2017 at 12:14 PM

If they are told NOT to, then they should not confront them. You have to follow the rules of the entity you are working for. That is a different issue than if you think the store policy is RIGHT. It is not, by the way.

TIFOKCIS July 17, 2017 at 12:14 PM

Fire everyone with a spine.

Real men wear pink.

Silva July 17, 2017 at 12:15 PM

Is there a clearly stated company policy against it that has been broken? Maybe. Has nothing ever been said about it before? No, of course not.

The Mamba July 17, 2017 at 12:15 PM

I think they should give him his job back.

Jerk July 17, 2017 at 12:20 PM

This is why we keep seeing these IDIOCRACY type shoplifting stories (such as the help yourself at CVS).
These Corporations are a bunch of sissies, plus THE CRIMINALS HAVE MORE RIGHTS!!!!


Kentucky Derby July 17, 2017 at 12:23 PM

From a moral standpoint, I understand where employees are coming from. We’re all sick of thieves.

From a legal standpoint (especially large corporations – including Home Depot) if a policy is in place, they’re concerned about liability. Large corporations have deep pockets, and it’s not worth it.

That’s what loss prevention is for.

Mary Fouts July 17, 2017 at 12:30 PM

The overriding issue is potential liability incurred by the business if they allow (non security) employees to engage in physical altercations and chase/detain shoplifters, should the employee be injured or killed in the altercation.

In the event of a physical altercation, I would like to allow one written warning before firing an employee. But that may not be possible given the requirements of workers compensation and liability insurance for any given business.

ConcordKate July 17, 2017 at 12:33 PM

This guy is 70 years old. On the news this morning he said he really needed the job and enjoyed meeting customers and helping them. I believe all he did was yell at the shoplifters (who were grabbing expensive tools) and threw a broomstick or something at them. He was fired 2 weeks after the incident. I think Home Depot should be ashamed. I don’t advocate and employee trying to detain or have physical contact with a shoplifter, that’s dangerous. This guy just tried to scare off the shoplifters and I see nothing wrong with that.

Just1dering July 17, 2017 at 12:34 PM

They should try Safeway, they don’t prosecute b/c they might lose a customer.
I know this from experience when I was the wine steward at Blackhawk S-way I caught a kid with a bottle of vodka, I grabbed him just outside the door and threw him to the ground. I was reprimanded, however the video was viewed by many as the store manager left it up in the office.
I think they called the kids mom……

Bazooka Joe July 17, 2017 at 12:38 PM

Home Depot has a policy that only trained company security personnel can pursue and engage shoplifters. This man, who by the way is using his status as a US Army Veteran to gain sympathy, not only put himself in danger but also put customers and other personnel in danger. A situation like this could have turned ugly very quickly.
I am also a veteran, and one thing the military taught me is to follow and obey orders.
Home Depot did the right thing in firing him.

BOOYAH! July 17, 2017 at 12:39 PM

Think I’ll load up on some free sh*t next time I’m there. Tell me why I shouldn’t – seriously.

Rob July 17, 2017 at 12:43 PM

Before and during college I had jobs interacting with the public and every one of them said that you don’t confront shoplifters nor get into anything with a customer.

If you see a shoplifter you let security \ management know and then contact police – you don’t chase after, try to stop or confront the shoplifter.

Businesses are legally liable for what their employees do – and if their employee injures himself, an innocent bystander and in some cases the “suspect” the business could be on the hook for damages, etc…

As for being fired or warning – while a warning sounds good – large companies are pretty clear about this policy when they hire \ train people and the potential downside for them financially if something goes wrong could be large so they aren’t typically gonna play games – just fire the person – and hire someone else.

MoJo July 17, 2017 at 12:44 PM

I think the discipline for policy violations should be progressive. Start with a verbal warning and document it in the personal file. Next would be a written warning, then come the more serious forms of discipline (time off without pay, demotion, termination etc) Without knowing this man’s employment history, it is difficult to say if the termination was justified.

idiots everywhere July 17, 2017 at 12:49 PM

Companies do not want their employees confronting shoplifters as the work comp costs for injuries far exceed the value of merchandise taken.

Original G July 17, 2017 at 12:51 PM

Employees should not confront thieves.
That 70 year old probably has morals different than many younger people these days. If a business has inadequate loss control in place criminals will be attracted.

Home Depot from press accounts has problems, one example.
“Home Depot has reportedly reversed its decision to fire an Oregon employee who said he was let go after chasing a man he believed was kidnapping a child.”

Am wondering if firing decisions in such cases are left to store managers?
Also wonder if there is a lack of store manager training?
Last year current CEO made over eleven million dollars.
How many days a year does the CEO bother to show up to see for himself what’s going on in their stores?

WC July 17, 2017 at 1:06 PM

The stores don’t want the liability, but you can bet they don’t pay for ‘shrinkage’ as they call it either. Their customers do via them jacking the prices on everything up to cover the losses. That’s why they don’t care and I’ll be damned if I would go after a shoplifter these days. The law would probably let the shoplifter go and arrest me. This is how screwed up society is.

BITE_ME July 17, 2017 at 1:14 PM

Constitutional duties of citizens under U.S. or State jurisdiction:

(1) To preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.

(2) To help enforce laws and practices that are constitutional and applied within their proper jurisdiction and according to their intent, and to resist those which are not.

(3) To serve on juries, and to render verdicts according to the constitutionality, jurisdiction, and applicability of statute and common law, and the facts of the case.

He was just doing a #2.

AnonZ July 17, 2017 at 1:18 PM

At bare minimum, I think they ought to confront customers for shoplifting. I don’t think they should risk their lives, but when shoplifters know that nobody will come after them, they’re going to keep shoplifting!

Employees should never get fired for this.

foonman July 17, 2017 at 1:44 PM

Most on here don’t acknowledge we are a nation of lawyers. Two waiting behind the one you just knocked to the ground. It much easier to stick the loss to your good customers rather than risk law suit do to a employee detaining a thief. The world is upside down………
PS: they are turning out another 80 thousand lawyers a year from college..
we need tort reform……..

Kentucky Derby July 17, 2017 at 1:50 PM

Employees should always be fired for this – first offense. Anyone who’s ever worked retail knows this.

Retail was my first job at 16 in the 70s, and it was policy back then. You tell management, and management handles it through loss prevention/security. Otherwise, things could go horribly wrong, with people getting hurt or worse.

If you don’t understand this, and why this policy is in place (liability), you shouldn’t be working retail.

As far as shoplifting – it’s the cost of doing business. Sadly, we all end up paying for it.

Soundboy July 17, 2017 at 2:09 PM

So Home Depot employee are not to interfere with shoplifting? Hmmm, I have several home improvement projects that I am ready to start.

Robin D Gibson July 17, 2017 at 2:15 PM

A Home Depot in another state fired an employee because he intervened and stoped a child abduction. I think they suck.

WhoDat? July 17, 2017 at 3:23 PM

Get the liberal scum out of office and elect hard-nosed law-and-order types; then get them to pass legislation to allow all employees at EVERY retail business to be armed. Give them permission to shoot to kill all shoplifters and watch how quickly the crime rate drops.

Rob July 17, 2017 at 3:49 PM

For the Home Depot “child abduction” case – that man called police and the police asked him to follow the suspect – and while it turned out not be an abduction, but Home Depot reversed its decision to fire the man.

But I think everyone can agree helping with a potential child abduction vs. confronting someone stealing stuff is a world of difference – and Home Depot acknowledged this…

Wondering? July 17, 2017 at 3:57 PM

Workers comp costs and injuries.

Don July 17, 2017 at 5:25 PM

They should get an award.

Anon July 17, 2017 at 6:59 PM

So, I’ll just walk into Lucky wearing a slap dash disguise, walk out with a bunch of high end liquor, walk it around the corner to my get away buddy in the get away car, then sell the bottles out of the trunk of my car in the parking lot of the Red Dragon, Concord’s worst dive bar and home to major alcoholc losers. I could do that once a week and probably never get caught. I’d be half way to Antioch by the time the cops showed up at Lucky and without a license plate number, they’d never know who I am.

anonnnnaannoonn July 17, 2017 at 7:13 PM

The more this gets publicized, the more brats will realize they can get away with this stuff, with no consequences. SO SAD!!.

Diane July 17, 2017 at 8:25 PM

Mary Fouts you are absolutely correct. Having been in Insurance both Workers Comp and Liability for 29 plus years you are spot on.The law is not black and white but the employer has the responsibility to protect their employees and consider liability exposures.

jjshawk July 17, 2017 at 10:18 PM

Screw the rules! The fired employee did the right thing! I am outraged that the hands of common morality are tied by BS rules and fear of liability, by the criminals, of all people! Criminals are feeling more and more entitled. WTF?

Momo July 18, 2017 at 1:23 AM

Everybody loves to bash employees who DON’T go after shoplifters… let me ask you this question… is a box of nails worth losing your life over? My son worked at CVS by Bart for several years… hell no I didn’t want him chasing shoplifters…no amount of merchandise is worth his life…

Be gentle July 18, 2017 at 7:26 AM

Yes there’s a liability problem. I remember back in the day at Lupoi’s market a boy was caught stealing by the owner! Tony took that little boy and shook him by the shoulders! He yelled at him and told him that stealing was wrong and he said never do that again. Everyone saw him and I bet that little boy learned his lesson! Those were the days! Lupoi’s was located on the corner of Ygnacio Valley Rd. in Walnut Creek! It was the best little market ever! I went to school with his kids!

Justifiable anger July 18, 2017 at 8:32 AM

Eight years and 7 months ago you voted for change. The morals you were taught by your antiquated parents have been changed. Gone. Congratulations. What used to be known as a stand up guy-in this case, a 70 year old man- is now fired for apprehending a shoplifter.

There is no preparing for what is next on this crazy ‘progressive’ agenda.

Judy Camilleri July 18, 2017 at 8:47 AM

No he should not be fired

tita July 18, 2017 at 9:02 AM

We live in a society that has gone crazy! Give the man his job back…since he has a “spine” maybe he should be running HOME DEPOT ?? Since the management at home Depot has let it be known they will do NOTHING to stop thiefs ..just put up a sign that reads “HELP YOURSELF “, Can,t pay?? No problem…its free just take it…

Kentucky Derby July 18, 2017 at 9:38 AM

For those of you who don’t get it – you can’t just walk into any business and steal what you want. Only the APPROPRIATE PEOPLE can handle it. Stealing is still against the law. You can still be arrested.

You just can’t have any Tom, Dick or Harry employee take things into his or her own hands. All heck will break loose.

It’s not any different anyplace you work. If you see something illegal happen you can’t just do what you want to that person. You follow proper protocol or you’ll be fired.


The BART Experience July 18, 2017 at 7:23 PM

Boycotting Home Depot.

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