(NewsNation) — A New York state lawmaker has proposed legislation to stop retail workers from losing their jobs if they try to stop shoplifters.
NY Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick not only introduced the bill — but he’s also walked in the employee’s shoes himself, and stopped a shoplifter in the act.
During a trip to Target, Fitzpatrick told NewsNation’s Adrienne Bankert, he saw a man in a bucket hat and sunglasses with a fully loaded cart. As Fitzpatrick walked in, the man ran toward him, and he heard a voice screaming for someone to call security.
“The guy runs by me, I just reflexively just turned around, chased after him, grabbed the handlebar. And I let it go. And he snaps back at me ‘Mind your own business,'” Fitzpatrick said.
That’s when the politician took his other hand and stopped the cart “dead in its tracks” ,telling the other man to unhand it. The would-be shoplifter ran off, as Fitzpatrick took the cart back in the store.
As the security guard thanked Fitzpatrick, she mentioned that employees aren’t allowed to chase after shoplifters.
“I said you know, this is it’s just weird that this is happening,” Fitzpatrick said on “Morning in America.”
“Employees should not be fired for doing the right thing,” he added.
There have been several high-profile instances of companies firing workers after they attempted to stop theft.
Businesses say they have policies in place urging personnel not to confront people stealing from their stores to keep employees safe, and also to avoid legal liability.
“It is only merchandise. At the end, they are trained to step back and let the theft occur and that there is technology, there are cameras and we are working with law enforcement,” said Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald after an incident earlier this year, where two employees were fired after chasing masked robbers out of a store.
However, Fitzpatrick argues that every dollar that walks out the door is another reason to close that store — which means retail workers lose their jobs and business districts in the state are hurt.