By Christian Stegmaier
Within recent times, I read in the newspaper about an associate at a local retailer had been injured when attempting to stop a robbery. The store had been held up and the associate trailed the robber out of the store in an effort to get the stolen money back. The robber beat up the associate upon being confronted. The associate needed to be hospitalized.
There are points in time in our lives where bravado is needed: asking someone out on a date, bungee jumping, stock car racing, etc. A hold-up is not such a time. Associates don’t need to be the hero when someone comes unto the property, takes money at gun or knife point, and then leaves. Associates should be trained that no amount of money is worth their life and well-being.
As a result of this associate's attempt to save the day, the retailer now has a workers’ compensation claim. In addition to the charges related to her hospitalization and lost wages, it is conceivable her claim could intensify if she suffers any demonstrable permanent injuries. The retailer could be looking at a very expensive claim.
It must be further noted that a team member’s efforts to retrieve stolen money could result in civil liability. A guest/patron struck by a flying bullet or punch would indubitably bring suit against the retailer. Also, the alleged use of disproportionate force on the robber - such as shooting him in the back in the parking lot - could lead to suit.
Avoid potential liability: Confer with security experts regarding proper responses to robbery; develop protocols; train associates in these protocols; and continue to train them in the future.