Don’t chase shoplifters!
Apprehending thieves is not your job

Not too long ago, grocery workers were lauded for their efforts to stop shoplifters. A successful nab would be the talk of the whole store, maybe the whole town.

But this doesn’t mean you should try to be a hero.

Given the violence grocery workers already experience working through the pandemic, doing these acts today could be deadly.

Recently, a UFCW member in Fresno was seriously injured while trying to stop a couple from shoplifting a cart full of merchandise.

When the employee confronted the couple at the front of the store, he was pushed to the ground so hard he hit his head on the asphalt and lay motionless until first responders arrived on the scene. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Retail workers already have been fighting an invisible and deadly enemy in COVID-19, but this assault on a union member serves as a painful reminder of other dangers while on the job.

Don’t put your job in jeopardy

You may think you are doing a good deed for the community and your employer, but chasing a shoplifter could get you fired even when if you’re successful. Companies have rightly concluded it’s not worthwhile to put the safety of their employees and customers at risk just to save a few dollars in stolen merchandise.

Sadly, some people still have not gotten the message. Union members have been threatened, stabbed and beaten while trying to prevent thefts.

In one incident, a member was injured while trying to record a fleeing suspect’s license plate number.

Don’t let this happen to you!

One union member was fired when the company claimed he wrongly accused someone of stealing. Another was fired for pursuing a shoplifter’s vehicle and yet another was terminated for grabbing an item out of a shopping cart that was headed out the door.

If you see or suspect shoplifters, follow company policy and notify the person in charge of the store, but please don’t take the issue into your hands.

Be sure to review your employer’s policies on what you should do when you observe a theft or any other kind of illegal behavior in the store. Understand those policies thoroughly.

If you have questions, ask your Union Representative, then act strictly according to the rules.

Forget about being a hero, as cameras are all over the store and almost everyone has a camera.

You are not a police officer or a security guard. Your safety and your job are too important to put yourself and others in danger.