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Target sued for "Walk of Shame" suicide

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  • Target sued for "Walk of Shame" suicide

    Young man with Asperger's committed suicide after being fired from Target. Employees should never be humiliated, even if being terminated. I know the temptation is there, expecially with employees who have caused major issues, but managers are supposed to have maturity.

    I was told one time to watch an ex-Marine clean out his desk and escort him off the property. I refused. The man was being fired for a policy disagreement with the boss, not dishonesty. He was also the last person in the world to be a threat. I let him clean out his desk by himself, walked him to his car, shook his hand and wished him luck. He drove off with no problems.

  • #2
    It's a tricky subject.

    Having consulted for multiple "high risk" terminations, part of the risk value associated to a person isn't just what kind of guy he was, but also what kind of information or equipment he had access to. People can be quick to judge why somebody is being escorted from their office from the building, but that assessment was done by somebody with the facts, and not just an off-the-cuff opinion. He may have seemed like a nice guy, but people who are more specialized than you may have deemed him a higher risk due to certain variables, and who knows? If you were wrong, it could have resulted in an enterprise loss.

    The real trick with these is securing what needs to be secured, and that's it. I advise that the cleaning out of an office is to be secured, in the case that a termination is deemed "high risk," but if the person is reacting decently, they don't have to be escorted to their car. They can be monitored from a distance, they can save face, and everybody's happy.


    • #3
      Sometimes the office is far away from the door. Too bad if someone gets their feelings hurt. Maybe mommy should have done a better job...


      • #4
        Originally posted by Soper View Post
        Sometimes the office is far away from the door. Too bad if someone gets their feelings hurt. Maybe mommy should have done a better job...

        I concur. I don't know too many stores (big box or supermarket) that have an office right front and centre in the building.

        People get walked out of workplaces in handcuffs all the time past their co-workers and clientèle. Or what about the small-town people who get pulled over for HTA offences? They sit there for however long on the side of the highway with a lit-up squad car behind them as their friends, family and co-workers drive by....Big whoop.

        In this case, the young man's disability likely had something to do with how he interpreted and coped with the incident (obviously not well). Target, their LP staff and front-line managers and supervisors are not in the wrong here. Mothers are protective of their children, and when that child has any sort of disability, their mother instincts are always running in Overdrive. Fact of the matter is, this woman is just grieving for the loss of her child, whose termination and subsequent walk through the store may have played a part in his suicide; as such, she is directing her anger/grief at Target as she has misplaced her emotions. That being said, a lawsuit is a very inappropriate way to deal with it all.

        (Still concur w/ Soper, Target is still in the clear)
        Last edited by UnsupervisedCanadian; 01-30-2015, 09:33 AM. Reason: Added One Line, Fixed Grammar
        World's Youngest Grumpy Old Man


        Opinions expressed in my posts are mine alone and do not reflect those of my employer, the client, or SIW Forums (unless specifically stated for moderation purposes)


        • #5
          Agreed. I just think the "walk of shame" (if it indeed exists) is a chance for more problems. And yes, even if an employee was OK on the job, termination is always tricky. I remember one guy who got terminated in the office, ran out and burst into the Board room where there was a meeting going on and loudly expressed his opinion of the matter. He did get escorted off the property and monitored until he was out of sight.

          I've worked for places that deliberately humilate ex-employees. And they wonder why they need security to prevent vandalism, etc.


          • #6
            Target Sued For "Walk Of Shame" Suicide

            I will say that the place we worked off-duty at a few years back did it very professionally. It is a company that is well known to many around the United States. The corporate headquarters are located in a city small enough that they called called the sheriff's office to assist them with the work. Anyway, we were in a room right next to the room in which people were brought in and given notice. They were then escorted away from the building and out to the parking lot by management. We were in civilian clothing and would only intervene if there was a problem. Those terminated were told of the severance package and that their personal property would be shipped to their residence. They then left the property immediately.

            I did have mixed feelings about working that off-duty gig because of the nature of what was happening. I still worked it because I just convinced myself that I was simply there for safety and to keep the peace. I am quite sure it was very difficult for all involved. It would be difficult to be the ones getting terminated and it would be difficult to be the ones giving the bad news. I am sure that many had seen the handwriting on the wall, but still many did not know ahead of time exactly who was being let go.

            On a somewhat related note, I have heard that it is becoming more common at many employers to walk employees out the door just as soon as they submit resignation papers if it is not a retirement situation, even if the employee is in good standing. It seems odd to me on the one hand, think about it, you have a great employee, who finds a better job, turns in his resignation, and as soon as the Human Resources Department gets the resignation, the employee is all done immediately. They are told that there last check will be mailed and the contents of their desk emptied and shipped to their residence. I guess the theory is a known short time employee isn't all that productive and may sort of "poison the water" for remaining employees.

            I am very "old school" on this issue. If a good employee resigns, let them work their last two weeks and wish them well. It just seems over the top to me to walk people out just because they found a different job and resign.


            • #7
              I find that the vast majority of employees - specifically front line staff and the like - are generally low risk and don't require much of a response from security. In my experience, the ones that needed that additional layer of security were the ones with access to tons of information, people who have often worked a very long time and were often given good severance packages. I've also never consulted for or worked a termination that went sideways.

              That said, we do it because of what may happen. A corporation would rather protect their assets even if they have 100 uneventful terminations, than drop the ball once and either have equipment destroyed, or information saved onto a USB drive and leaked to a competitor once.

              For the sake of privacy and professionalism though, the guard should always be in plainclothes - or suitable attire for the business. The goal here is the protection of assets, and not drawing outside attention to yourself. The terminated individual knows who you are and why you are there, there's no reason that anybody else should be aware of that too.


              • #8
                In my experience, working with several different retailers and multiple units, there are always different ideologies when it comes to escorting out staff members. Some leaders want to perform a "walk of shame" and others care for the more discrete method. I have always preferred and defenitly reccomened using a discrete method as much as possible. The walk of shame is not a useful deterrent, it only casts a negative light on leadership and especially that of the LP department. Associates speak to one another, so if your goal is to send a message on theft, let the staff do it for you.