Starbucks points to 'carefully crafted protocols' that employees should follow
A former Starbucks employee who thwarted an attempted robbery at one of the coffee giant's chains has launched a legal action after his employer fired him weeks after the incident.
According to Michael Harris, he was wrongfully terminated by Starbucks. KSDK reported in December that Harris was among the employees who subdued and detained one of the robbers who attempted to steal from a Starbucks chain during that month.
Harris said the guns used by one of the robbers was fake, which drove him to fight back.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said the subdued robber was caught, while the other who escaped was found and arrested later, according to the KSDK report.
But Harris said he was fired weeks after the altercation without explanation.
"They didn't really give me a reason why I was terminated. They just told me I was, and I just had to accept it," he told KSDK.
"I was hurt, especially because I tried to do my best for everybody else. I tried to be the best person I could to help everybody."
Starbucks's response pointed out that they have "carefully crafted protocols" in such situations that employees are expected to follow.
"At the time of hire and once a year thereafter, all partners go through de-escalation training," Starbucks said as quoted by KSDK. "Part of that training includes armed robbery scenarios where partners are asked to comply with demands and to avoid doing or saying anything that can escalate the situation.
Ryan Krupp, a lawyer who represents Harris in the case, defended that the employee didn't create the dangerous scenario.
"They just did what they were supposed to do in that scenario. It happens fast... 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 told KSDK.