Walmart Fires Employee Because Thief Attacked Him

A Walmart employee who was assaulted while confronting a shoplifter has been fired.

Commerce City, CO - A Walmart employee was fired for doing his job well at a store in Colorado.

The former asset protection associate said he was fired from his job at Walmart on Dahlia Street four days after he was sucker-punched on Nov. 6 by a shoplifter who had tried to break into a cash register, according to KDVR.

Ramon, who requested that his last name and hometown be kept confidential because he fears retaliation from the many previous shoplifters he has stopped, said the suspect "flat out told me 'I'm schizophrenic, I don't know what I'm going to do.'"

"When someone says something like that, you have to take those threats seriously," Ramon said.

The incident occurred just five days after a triple homicide at the Thornton Walmart located just eight miles away.

Police said the 21-year-old suspect, Juan Izalb, entered the Walmart, and picked up a hammer and a screwdriver. He then walked to the sporting goods area, placed the hammer in the register, and began trying to pry it open.

Walmart employees called Ramon, and the surveillance video showed Ramon walking toward Izalbe. His left hand was holding his phone to his ear while he talked to police, and his right hand was raised to get Izalbe to stop.

The video showed Ramon being assaulted, which made him drop his phone on the floor. He tackled Izalbe as co-workers and shoppers watched.

Ramon received stitches for his left eye and missed three days of work due to his injuries from Izalbe's assault. He said he was fired when he returned to work on Nov. 10.

Walmart officials would not release any information on Ramon's termination except to say that it involved "gross misconduct."

Ramon said that supervisors told him that he could have handled the situation better.

"They flat out told me I could have avoided the situation,” he said.

Ramon said he reacted in a split second and that tackling Izalbe was appropriate in the situation.

In his termination letter, Walmart said, "Ramon could have prevented the incident if he had not approached the suspect with an aggressive manner, tone and identified himself properly."

Ramon said Walmart specifically trained him to use an open palm to stop suspects from fleeing.

He did what he was trained to do on Nov. 6, and he got punched for it.

"My mentality automatically went into defense mode. You know, what can I do to prevent this guy from you know hurting anybody else?” Ramon said.

Walmart's policy for apprehending suspects, AP-09, says "When a suspect is violent or hostile, in an apprehension situation, let the suspect flee out of the store and call law enforcement."

But Ramon said that the policy also says, "Authorized associates may use reasonable force to physically limit or control the movements of a suspect."

"I felt like he created an unsafe environment for me. And at that point of time, my safety was involved. At that point in time, not only that, the safety of other people. I felt like it would create a more dangerous environment to let him go than to restrain him,” he said.

The suspect told police that he had gone to Walmart to buy his brother a video game, decided to break into the cash register, and then had a change of heart once an employee saw what he was doing.

Izalbe said that Ramon approached him aggressively, but that he was wrong.

"I'll take the charge for assaulting him, I know I shouldn't have done that,” Izalbe said.

He also told police that he did not officially break into the register.

Izalbe has been charged with possession of burglary tools, attempt to commit burglary, and third-degree assault. He has also been charged with a burglary that occurred on Nov. 1 at a different Walmart.

Do you think that Walmart has any excuse for firing Ramon? We'd like to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments.

Many companies have similar policies in place. The intent is not to stop their employees from intervening, it's so the company can deflect the blame if something goes wrong onto the employees.

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I smell a lawsuit.

Walmart should be commending him! What an asshole company! People should flood their Bentonville AR office with emails, mail and phone calls. I'm am so close to being done with anything Walmart.

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This is ridiculous! You train a guy to do a job and when he does it, you fire him? What if that guy had gone after people with that hammer?

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Everything is insured. Companies regularly fire people for not "standing down" in a confrontation with criminals in the retail workplace. This has been policy for many years at most retailers. Don't like it? Don't work in retail. Police are authorized to use force. Pretty much everyone else is not.

Wal-Mart is the worst company to work for, I have worked for them in the past and would never work for them again, ever! I have had several managers that I worked with years ago that have begged me to come back to work at Wal-Mart and I tell them that they can't afford me. When they announced to everyone that they were raising the base pay to $9/hr and then $10/hr I knew that it was going to cost the employees that had been there for a while. My friend has worked full-time for Walmart for over 34 years and when Wal-Mart raised the minimum pay rate for their hourly employees making less than $10/hr her hours were cut from 40 hours to 34 hours which may not sound like much but her budget was tight and even tighter now due to the hours being cut. As if the reduction in hours was not enough they gave people raises to where now new hires are making just a few dollars or so less than she makes per hour and she has been there for decades, it is a shame. The other issue is that their healthcare is a joke at best. For the very basic healthcare that is only worthwhile if you get in an accident or get extremely sick (which you would then lose the insurance when you lose your job due to their very, very strict attendance policy, which does not allow for any understanding of personal illness and accidents) you pay nearly $350+/mo for a family of 4. The next step up from the basic policy would then take away more than $500/mo and if I was to take the highest policy they offered I would have been required to pay Wal-Mart to work there and have insurance and I made over $11/hour. I have not worked there in over 3 years and I have heard that their insurance has only gotten more expensive and covers even less than it did before but don't worry Wal-Mart is paying it's shareholders good dividends and the Walton widow and kids are insanely wealthy but it is only at the expense of the employees. The other issue is that they are eliminating positions left and right while expecting the remaining employees to pick up the work of the positions they just eliminated. The amount of work they expect people to perform is crazy and then the customers wonder why the employees are not very helpful, it is simple they fear management coaching them and ultimately firing them. Wal-Mart is not the company that Sam Walton built and took so much pride in while he was alive but now that he is gone it has become everything that he did not want his company to be and his employees are no longer taken care of like he took care of them. It is really sad what they have become.

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www.gofundme.com/getramonjustice

Most companies have a "do not confront" policy. This relieves them of liability should they be sued by either the perpetrator or the employee. I was at a convenience store a few weeks back and as I was in line, some youngish man walked it, picked up a case of beer, and ran out. The woman behind me in line first berated the clerk, then me (I work for a sheriff's department as non-sworn civilian and she saw the logo on my shirt). The clerk just shrugged and said, "Company policy."

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