October 05, 2004

Would You Like To Murder Our Employees?

Spoons links to The Sake Of Argument who tells of a Long John Silvers manager who has been fired for resisting what seemed like an attempt at murder during an armed robbery.

The manager was dealing with the robbers while three of his employees were on the floor. He just handed the money to the robbers & they order him to go to the back of the store. So he admits he had a flash back to a robbery 25 years prior during which he was shot, assumes the robbers are going to kill him & his employees & decides to take a hammer to one of the bastards. Said bastard hits the floor & gets up running.

The manager then gets fired because he violated company policy by resisting a confrontational crime. The mouthpiece for LJS says he did something that endangered the safety of himself & his employees that violated company policy.

It's a shame. I liked Long John Silvers. It's not the greatest seafood but hell, in a landlocked state my options are limited. Looks like they're even more limited now. Luckily I'm not opposed to frying up a mess o' catfish when I need to.

But to reality check the LJS policy - which do you think ensures the safety of all concerned better: passive compliance no mater what the demands or hostile resistance using equivilent or unequivilent force? Do you think I have a better chance if I do anything, & I mean anything a robber asks or by taking the bastard out as quickly & violently as possible?

Let's look at it from another angle. Let's say you're Joe. E. Crackhead looking to make some quick cash. There are two places you're thinking of robbing. One has a well known policy that forbids the carrying of weapons by employees & demands passive compliance with any & all demands issued during a confrontational crime. The other allows its employees to carry whatever they feel is necessary for their defense & encourages violent & swift resistance to any threat or use of force against them or another employee. Which would you rob?

By its actions LJS & other companies encourage confrontational crime & thus increase the chances of an employee being injured or killed during such a crime. What it also does is reduce the insurance premiums for the company. The insurance companies who underwrite corporate policies figured out a while back that a lawsuit against a company for the wrongful death of an employee could be handled more effeciently (i.e cheaper) than a lawsuit by the family of a criminal who was injured by a company employee. A company usually takes some responsibility for the actions of its employees whereas it doesn't usually take responsibility for the actions of third parties (well, unless said company makes firearms). So the payout for an employee's death is potentially less than for a cirminal who is killed at the hands of an employee.

That's the reason for such policies. Don't fall for any of the bullshit such companies will tell you about the safety of its employees. Their primary concern is cash.

If you'd like to tell LJS what you think of their choosing cash over employee safety, here's a link to their comments page.

People like the LJS manager should be rewarded, or at the very least respected for their actions in defense of themselves & others, not fired. Until such actions are a bad dream, companies like LJS should be avoided, not patronized. Yep, frying fish at home is a bit messier & more time consuming, but when I do it no one is forced to choose between a fundamental Right & a paycheck. & if anything is fired because of a confrontational crime while I'm frying, odds are Mr. du Toit will have another righteous shooting to add to the collection.

One last thought: since LJS denies any means of self defense, & strongly discourages any actions that would provide for an effective defense in most situations, I'd assume they could be held liabel for an employee death, since they effectively took away any options of ddefense said employee had. So if I or anyone I knew was ever harmed while following a company policy that prohibited self defense, I'd hope some enterprising young lawyer wouldn't stop until the deceased's family owner the company. I could be wrong as tort law isn't an area I've spent a great deal of time studying, so perhaps a lawyer or two could chime in on what they think the odds of winning such a case (i.e. suing a company for worngful death because it prohibited self defense & failed to provide defense) would be.

Posted by Publicola at October 5, 2004 03:45 PM

Damn! Well, it's another sad case in a long string, though. I think 7-11 has the same policy. Dunno if they've actually fired someone. Hell, I think most stores have that policy.

It'd be interesting to discover the names of business who would support employees who resist criminals.

Posted by: jed at October 5, 2004 10:34 PM

I sent my comments

Posted by: Gunscribe at October 7, 2004 08:10 PM

This is the e-mail I got back from long john silvers:

Thank you for your thoughts on the recent events in our Richardson, Texas location. We always want to hear feedback from our customers.

Unfortunately, the media coverage of the event has been one-sided. In order to respect the employee's privacy, we have not been able to reveal all the facts of the situation. However, I can tell you the following:

Our top priority is the safety of our employees and our customers. We are fortunate that the employee's spur-of-the-moment decision turned out the way it did, but we need to set the facts straight on what happened. The employee told us that during the robbery, he realized the first thief did not appear to have a gun: "When I seen he only had his hand as a gun, I got mad." At that point, he said he grabbed a hammer and hit the suspect in the head. This is in the employee's signed statement.

Although the media has portrayed this employee as a person fearing he was about to be killed, his own statement indicates he took action because he believed the robber was unarmed and that he was "mad" about it. His actions escalated the violence during a situation that was already potentially violent, and put his life and the lives of his employees at risk.

Recently, Terrie Dort, the Executive Director of the National Food Service Security Council, issued a statement in support of Long John Silver's policy: "The vast majority of retail robberies result in lost money, but not lost lives. Responding to an attempted robbery in a violent manner dramatically increases the risk of harm to employees and customers."

In a serious situation such as this, we appreciate that there may be differences in opinion. While we respect your perspective, we must stand by the decision we made because it supports our first priority of keeping our employees and customers safe. The decision was made after a careful evaluation of all the facts, many of which are not currently public.

We appreciate your interest in this situation, and we hope now that you know more of the facts, we’ll see you again soon in one of our restaurants.

Posted by: gus_mcrae at October 12, 2004 07:26 AM

The fact that the cashiers and customers are willing to give up their money and valuables will NOT guarantee that they will walk away from a robbery in one piece. Robbers, rapists, and other meanies get their jollies from killing the ones they are doing harm to nowadays. If me or one of mine can get the jump on a meanie - we are gonna take 'em out - we may die in the process - but at least we will go down fighting - it is better than tucking your tail and running. I will guarantee you - the Founding Fathers would NOT have turned over THEIR valuables to any robbers - why in the heck do you think we have the Constitutional Amendment to BEAR ARMS???

Posted by: Lee Tipton at March 22, 2005 03:34 PM
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