Tuesday, October 22, 2013

When is being a Good Samaritan Bad for Business?

Kristopher Oswald was fired by Walmart for rescuing a young woman from being assaulted (though he was later reinstated). The altercation violated company policies for customer interactions.
The 30-year-old has said he was in his car on his break about 2:30 a.m. Sunday when he saw a man grabbing a woman. He said he asked her if she needed help and the man started punching him in the head and yelling that he was going to kill him. Oswald said he was able to get on top of the man, but then two other men jumped him from behind.
Livingston County sheriff's deputies arrived and halted the fight.

Why does Walmart have a policy against protecting their patrons? Rather than a policy of terminating these employees, don't they have a social responsibility to the local community to help thwart crime when doing so would be easy? Of course, what Walmart worries about is a mistaken employee altercation with perfectly innocent patrons. The possible resulting liability cost could easily outweigh the reputation loss due to more parking lot altercations. Hence the policy. The policy protects Walmart's bottom line but might encourage more crime in the area. Here is a case where there is tension between the pursuit of profits and the pursuit of larger social goals.

HT: Leah Hunter

1 comment:

  1. As much as everybody loves to sue people anymore, Walmart's concern is an unfortunately legitimate one. Don't civil suits typically go for the "deepest pockets"? And it would not be the Walmart employee!!