Tuesday, July 10, 2012



With jobs as hard to come by as they are, getting fired is a serious blow. I represent injured workers and car accident victims, and losing their job is something they all fear. But, people are only fired for really good reasons, right?

Consider these reported cases:

On July 2, 2012, near Miami Beach, a young lifeguard was assigned a portion of the city beach. He heard a commotion, and saw a man in trouble. He ran to help, and radioed his boss to cover his section.  The lifeguard saved the drowning man.

Then he was fired. 

Fired because he left his assigned beach zone to save a life!
Two other lifeguards protested, claiming they would have done the same thing.

Then they were fired.

Three of the remaining lifeguards resigned in protest. A total of six jobs lost.

The public outcry was so huge, that the young hero, Mr. Lopez, was actually presented a key to the city. The management company also offered him his job back, which he politely declined.
Surely, getting fired for doing the right thing is rare. Maybe it is not.

Consider the Detroit worker who found a dangerous loaded handgun in weeds while on the job.  He kept it safe, figuring a policeman would soon drive by, and he could turn it in. After work, having seen no cops, he drove it to the police department himself. He wanted to get it off the streets. The police discovered the gun had been stolen years earlier, and praised his efforts.

Then he was fired. 

Fired only two years from retirement after 23 years on the same job! He had broken a policy by having a gun at work.  Really?

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, a shoplifter was running out of the Whole Foods store, when a former US Marine employee caught up to him in the parking lot. The employee eventually caught him and, attempting a citizens’ arrest, held the suspect for police as they were on the way.  What loyalty! But then his boss, the manager, came and ordered that the thug must be released. The thief ran off into the night.

Then he was fired.

Fired on Christmas Eve, no less.  You see, Whole Foods has a policy against “touching” a customer.
Was a man who was stealing really a “customer?” I thought customers actually paid for the items they take out.

In the Whole Foods case, one could argue that no one was in danger when the employee chased him down. Surely, if customers were in danger, it would be a different result, right? Wrong!

A Wal-Mart shoplifter had one employee up against a break room wall, with a gun at his back. The gunman reportedly threatened the other three employees in the small room, but they were having none of it. They sprang into action, and wrestled the gun away from the crazed bandit, and held him for police.

Police officers told them they had done everything right.

Then they were fired.

All four of them were fired.

Wal-Mart claimed they broke a company policy by putting their fellow workers and customers at risk. Wal-Mart seemed unable to grasp that letting a desperate criminal armed with a gun lose in their store might put a person or two at risk. And what about the man with the gun at his back? Seems like he was at risk!

As it turns out, the thug was a convicted felon, who cannot legally own a firearm and would certainly not want to be caught with one. He also had many warrants out for his arrest, so he was probably very desperate. The gun, in fact, was loaded, and had a live round chambered to shoot.

Company policies were created to teach people what is right, and to protect the customers and the company.  I can understand why employees are not encouraged to chase down thieves outside the store, but some of these are indefensible among those with any common sense.

Maybe common sense itself was fired?
It sure is rare these days.