A former Starbucks employee claims he was fired for his actions during a robbery at a St. Louis store.
In a surprising turn of events, Michael Harris, a former employee of Starbucks, faced termination after an incident involving a robbery at the St. Louis, Missouri location.
Represented by the Krupp Law Firm LLC, Harris' story unfolds with a confrontation with armed robbers, leading to a controversial firing by the coffee chain, as FOX Business reported.
Harris told NBC affiliate KSDK:
I thought I was gonna die that day. … They walked in, announced that it was a robbery.
The incident, which occurred on Dec. 17, escalated when two gunmen entered the store and began robbing customers. Following the company’s handbook, Harris initially complied with the robbers' demands. However, the situation quickly deteriorated.
Harris attempted to access the cash register as demanded by the robbers but was impeded by a lack of managerial clearance. This delay led to one of the assailants assaulting Harris.
A colleague then identified the weapon as fake, prompting Harris and his co-worker, Devin Jones-Ransom, to fight back.
The ensuing struggle ended with Harris and Jones-Ransom restraining one of the robbers until police arrived, while the other fled the scene.
However, the aftermath of the incident brought unexpected consequences for Harris.
Attorney Ryan Krupp said in a press release:
Out of the blue, Michael and Devin were fired from the company without explanation as to what, if any policy was violated, or what they should have done differently about the situation.
Weeks following the robbery, Harris received a call informing him of his termination from Starbucks.
The lack of clarity regarding the violation of any specific company policy has raised questions about the fairness of Starbucks' decision.
Krupp suspects that the dismissal is partly due to Harris' vocal stance on safety issues and past incidents at the store.
This has led to a debate over the rights of employees in dangerous situations and the appropriateness of company policies in such scenarios.
Krupp told NBC:
There’s no way that an individual can be faced with danger, attempted potential death of themselves or another, and then once they’ve been hit or downed that they cannot defend themselves.
Krupp, on behalf of his client, alleges that Harris was wrongfully terminated, suggesting that the firing was not in line with the company's stated policies and procedures.
The law firm is now arguing for a reevaluation of Starbucks' approach to handling such high-stress and dangerous incidents involving its employees.
Despite the gravity of the situation, Starbucks and Jones-Ransom have not publicly responded to the allegations. This silence has added to the controversy surrounding Harris' dismissal and the company's handling of employee safety concerns.
The incident and subsequent firing of Harris have sparked a broader discussion about employee rights, workplace safety, and corporate responsibility during criminal activities.
Questions are being raised about the balance between following company policies and the instinct to protect oneself and others in life-threatening situations.
Harris' case highlights the complexities and ethical dilemmas faced by employees in the retail sector, particularly in situations where their personal safety is at risk.
The legal aspects of this controversy are complex, involving considerations of employment law, self-defense rights, and corporate responsibility.
The firing of Harris, in response to his actions during a robbery, raises important questions about employer obligations and employee protections under extreme circumstances.
This case may set a precedent for how businesses address employee conduct during criminal events, particularly in industries where such incidents are not uncommon.