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  #1  
Old 27 January 2015, 07:34 PM
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Default Mom Sues Target Claiming Humiliating “Walk Of Shame” Upon Firing Led To Son’s Suicide

A California Target is facing a lawsuit from the family of a former employee who says he took his own life after being forced to participate in a humiliating “walk of shame” through the store in handcuffs.

The woman who filed the lawsuit claims that her late son, a 22-year-old former cashier at the store was shamed in front of his fellow employees when managers allegedly forced him to parade around in cuffs, reports NBC Los Angeles.


http://consumerist.com/2015/01/26/mo...-sons-suicide/

If this story is true I'm glad that Target tanked here after all.
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  #2  
Old 27 January 2015, 07:40 PM
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If it's true, it's unconscionable. But absent any reason that the practice was Target corporate policy, I think condemning the company is premature, at the least.

ETA: It's interesting to me that the lawsuit alleges the 'walk of shame' is Target policy, but only the local store was named in the suit.
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Old 27 January 2015, 07:45 PM
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If it's corporate policy it's most likely an unwritten policy. If enough employees or ex-employees come forward, especially nationwide, to state they witnessed these "walks of shame" it may not matter what Target head office says though. Even if it turns out this is a practice limited to a handful of Targets I would hope Target, at the very least, gets rid of a few managers!
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Old 27 January 2015, 07:53 PM
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I'm very suspicious that the story related in the article is accurate with regards to the parade. First off, the story is at least second hand as the mother presumably wasn't in the store at the time. Secondly, the walk of shame as described is very close to what is probably standard practice, interrogating an employee thought to have stolen, then having that employee arrested, which often times involves being removed in handcuffs. With the single change of having the handcuffs put on after he was in the back being interrogated, the mother's story becomes something innocuous.

Mother's story:
Son arrives at work for the start of his shift. He is put into handcuffs, paraded in front of his fellow employees, marched back to a room to be interrogated. At some point the police arrive and take him into custody, presumably into a police car parked in front of the building.

Possible real story:
Son arrives at work for the start of his shift. He is met by a manager and a loss prevention officer. As many of his fellow employees work the same shift, events happen in front of other employees arriving at the same time. He is escorted to a back room to be questioned. At some point the police arrive, handcuff him, and take him into custody, presumably into a police car parked in front of the building.

With the two changes of handcuffing occurring when the police arrive and the fact that the "parade" was simply because employees arrive at the same time, the story goes from a horrible practice to one that could be how most places do things.
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  #5  
Old 27 January 2015, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
...Secondly, the walk of shame as described is very close to what is probably standard practice, interrogating an employee thought to have stolen, then having that employee arrested, which often times involves being removed in handcuffs. With the single change of having the handcuffs put on after he was in the back being interrogated, the mother's story becomes something innocuous....
Agreed. And that is quite likely police policy rather than the store's policy. Store management doesn't decided when the policy use handcuffs, do they?
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  #6  
Old 27 January 2015, 08:27 PM
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I strongly suspect that GenYus has it right. Also, the article says he was never charged with a crime, but he took his life 3 days after being arrested, so that isn't surprising.
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  #7  
Old 27 January 2015, 08:29 PM
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Wouldn't Target's store security cameras have captured this incident? I'm pretty sure employees come in through the front door like everyone else.
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  #8  
Old 27 January 2015, 08:33 PM
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According to the article it was store managers who "directed" police to put the young man in handcuffs. If that is actually true I'd like to know when police started taking orders from store employees - and if it is true it does sound like this may be a practice that Target managers and the local police had agreed upon together. Another big if, but if true, that certainly speaks to a practice of deliberately humiliating suspected employees.
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  #9  
Old 27 January 2015, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
Wouldn't Target's store security cameras have captured this incident? I'm pretty sure employees come in through the front door like everyone else.
Depending on when the suit was filed, (could be up to two years after the events) the video might be long gone. Usually security videos aren't archived; they're just kept for a scheduled amount of time, like 30 days or similar unless there's a reason to keep it.
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  #10  
Old 27 January 2015, 10:07 PM
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According to this article, this incident took place in 2013.

And there's a memorial page on Facebook. Don't know if it would yield any insights, however.
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  #11  
Old 27 January 2015, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tootsie Plunkette View Post
According to this article, this incident took place in 2013.
I'm not seeing anything in your link that gives a date of 2013--the article is dated yesterday and says the incident happened "last July". It does state that the interrogation was related to an off-site altercation with another employee which happened months before, which if true, makes the whole situation even more bizarre. Why would Target call the police to interrogate an employee about something that had nothing to do with the store?
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Old 27 January 2015, 10:31 PM
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Sorry, I looked at several articles, must have saved the link to the wrong one.

Here's a source (YouTube) for the 2013 date, though not the one I originally saw.

ETA: I'm guessing this obituary has the correct date: July 18, 2014, so it really was "last July" - sorry for the confusion.

Last edited by Tootsie Plunkette; 27 January 2015 at 10:37 PM.
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  #13  
Old 27 January 2015, 10:43 PM
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If there was an off-site altercation between two employees, and word got back to management, I can understand if a manager wanted to speak to each of them privately to make sure their personal feud would not affect their work performance. For example, if my employees got into a serious fight with each other on their day off, I need to make sure that their fighting is not going to continue at my store. I normally would never inquire into an employee's personal life, but depending on the severity of the "altercation" the situation might call for a meeting.

Perhaps the off-site altercation was the start of something that began affecting work performance or other employees, and it escalated. I'm obviously speculating but that's a scenario that would fit.
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Old 27 January 2015, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervus View Post

Perhaps the off-site altercation was the start of something that began affecting work performance or other employees, and it escalated. I'm obviously speculating but that's a scenario that would fit.
But why would there be police involvement and handcuffs?
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  #15  
Old 27 January 2015, 11:59 PM
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Quote:
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But why would there be police involvement and handcuffs?
If he was being termed for theft and the intended to press charges they would. I've seen the cops cuff people in closed areas at Target. I worked at one for awhile.
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  #16  
Old 28 January 2015, 12:03 AM
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If he was being termed for theft and the intended to press charges they would. I've seen the cops cuff people in closed areas at Target. I worked at one for awhile.
I was referencing Cervus's scenario which did not seem to include theft.
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  #17  
Old 28 January 2015, 12:06 AM
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Cervus didn't mention the cops or handcuffs. She talked about a manger meeting with employees
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  #18  
Old 28 January 2015, 12:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue View Post
But why would there be police involvement and handcuffs?
Perhaps, as I said, things escalated, and the off-site altercation didn't remain an off-site thing. Maybe the employees were fighting on the job, or threatening one another, maybe a weapon was pulled on store grounds. We have no idea; I'm just throwing out possible scenarios as to why store management might have to call the cops and conduct an interrogation over an incident that happened between employees off the job months earlier. I'm thinking things escalated to the point where it did have an effect on the workplace or the other employees.
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  #19  
Old 28 January 2015, 01:53 AM
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If it was about an off site altercation, it could be either that the police were already involved and asked management to help them, or that management wanted to terminate him (for whatever reason) and due to the altercation perhaps they were concerned that he might not leave quietly when asked.
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  #20  
Old 28 January 2015, 03:41 PM
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"The walk of shame" might also have been a result of the police handcuffing him and walking him to their car, after being interogated by management.

I've witnessed several loss prevention "interventions" and I don't believe any store loss prevention officers routinely carry handcuffs. Security guards may, but that is a different kettle of fish.


As to the off-site incident, if that was the case, it may be that the son got violent upon being asked about it that caused them to call in the police.
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