ESSEX, Vt. - A Vermont grocery store clerk claims that he was fired after he tried to stop a purse thief, according to a WCAX report.
Amir Shedyak had worked at the Hannaford supermarket in Essex for four years before the incident in August. Shortly after Shedyak started his shift, a customer told him that a theft had just happened.
“And he was like - an old lady’s purse just got stolen,” Shedyak told WCAX news. “I look to my right and I see a gentleman running across the parking lot and he had the purse in his hand.”
Shedyak, who also works as a part-time volunteer firefighter, recovered the purse, but the suspect escaped while Shedyak called police. He returned the purse to its owner and returned to work.
In a Facebook post, Shedyak detailed the events that followed: a few days after the incident, he was suspended for his actions pending an investigation, then fired by management. Shedyak claims that he was told he was fired for “safety issues while on company time.”
When asked for a comment by local news, Hannaford only said “We do not comment on personnel matters.” Shedyak has already moved on and found a new job.
A local attorney said that it is likely that Shedyak lost his job due to liability concerns.
“It is not uncommon at all for employers to discourage employees from laying hands on customers,” Pietro Lynn, a local attorney, told WCAX. He explained that a company like Hannaford would not want employees interfering because an injury to any individual can cause expensive liability issues.
“There are many cases in Vermont where employers are held responsible for the wrongful acts of their employees.”
Police later charged Adrian Moore, a local resident, with the theft.