It is important for a retail business to protect itself from theft, since theft has the potential to drastically cut into profit margins. Unfortunately, customers are not always who a retailer should be worried about. Employees are oftentimes found guilty of theft of company property. One retailer in Michigan recently fired an employee for theft and then found itself facing a commercial lawsuit alleging wrongful termination.
The company had conducted an investigation into employee theft and found one employee had stolen company property. The employee had taken a coupon that offered $20 discounted from any purchase after a new prescription was filled at the store’s pharmacy. The company terminated the then 42-year-old employee because the coupons were meant to be used by non-employee customers.
Upon her release, the employee believed she was unjustly terminated and decided to file a wrongful termination lawsuit. She argued that the company fired her based upon her being one of the most senior employees, which means she was being paid more than most other workers. The woman had been working at the store for 22 years and alleged that age discrimination was the basis for her firing in her lawsuit.
The store eventually settled the business litigation lawsuit with the woman for $15,000. Due to strong negotiation skills and knowledge of applicable Michigan law, the store was able to avoid admitting any wrongdoing as part of the settlement agreement. Although this case ended with a settlement, many times an employment lawsuit will require going through the litigation process in court.
Source: M Live, Fired over coupons: Meijer ex-employee who fought termination settles for $15,000, Shandra Martinez, Feb. 9, 2014