An Oregon Home Depot employee says he was fired after he attempted to intervene in what he was told was a kidnapping attempt in the store’s parking lot.
KATU reports that the 32-year-old man says he was fired from his job at Home Depot in mid-June after he and a co-worker stepped in to help prevent what looked to be a kidnapping taking place in the retailer’s parking lot.
According to the man, the May 12 incident began around closing time when a fellow employee banged on the door of the store asking for assistance after allegedly witnessing a man assault a woman, reach into her car, and take a child.
Looking outside the worker says he too noticed a man walking away with a child in his arms and heard a woman screaming for help, declaring “he’s kidnapping my kid, he’s stealing my kid!”
The employee who first saw the assault called police and was advised not to approach the supposed assailant, but to keep an eye on him.
As the Home Depot employees waited for authorities, they moved to the parking lot to follow the man down the street.
Once police arrived they returned the child to the mother and took the employees’ statements. It was eventually determined that the situation was a domestic dispute.
While the men went back to work for the evening, one tells KATU that he learned that while they thought they were doing the right thing, Home Depot felt differently.
The man’s actions, leaving the store premises while on duty, constituted a safety violation.
Still, it took four weeks and several meetings before the worker says he was eventually fired. When he filed for unemployment, the Oregon Employment Department approved the application, finding that the man was fired because “he assisted the police in preventing a kidnapping.”
“I absolutely would do it again, no change, without hesitation,” the man told KATU.
A rep for Home Depot told KATU that the situation is complex, but that the retailer would evaluate the situation. A few hours later, the company said it would rehire the employee.
“We took a second look at this and have let [the employee] know that we’ve decided to reverse our decision, based on the circumstances,” the rep said. “We always do our diligence to make sure associates are treated fairly, which we’ve done in this case.”
It’s not known if the former Home Depot worker will accept the offer. Previously, he’d told KATU that he would never work for, or shop at, Home Depot again. However, the station notes that it has not heard from the man since learning that the retailer would be willing to rehire him.