An employee at the Chesapeake, Virginia, Walmart unit where six workers were killed in a mass shooting by a store supervisor has filed a lawsuit in which she claims that she complained to management months earlier about the shooter's "bizarre" behavior.
The suit is seeking $50 million in compensatory damages.
From the New York Times:
"Donya Prioleau, an employee in the Chesapeake Walmart, said in her lawsuit filed on Tuesday that she had lodged a formal complaint against the man, who was a supervisor in the store, after he repeatedly made bizarre and inappropriate comments to her.
"Ms. Prioleau’s mother even visited the store in September to warn managers about the employee’s behavior because she was 'very concerned for her daughter’s safety,' according to the lawsuit. But she was told that nothing could be done because he was 'liked by management,' the lawsuit said.
"'We are reviewing the complaint and will be responding as appropriate with the court,' a Walmart spokesman, Randy Hargrove, said in a statement."
The Times goes on to point out that "the lawsuit accuses Walmart of negligent 'hiring and retention' practices because of its employee’s 'known propensities for violence' and 'strange behavior' before the shooting. Ms. Prioleau is seeking $50 million in compensatory damages.
"The police said the person they identified as the gunman, Andre Bing, 31, had left a 'death note' on his phone in which he said employees at the store had mocked him and compared him to a serial killer. They said he had also noted co-workers he planned to target and others he planned to spare."
Bing reportedly committed suicide before he could be captured by authorities.
The plaintiff's attorneys said that "our client alleges Walmart acknowledged her written complaint alleging harassment, but continued to employ the perpetrator … As workplace shootings and violence become horrifyingly common, employers have a responsibility to understand the warning signs and take threats seriously in order to protect their employees and customers."
- KC's View:
While the charges against Walmart may be legitimate, this does seem a little soon to be filing $50 million lawsuits. But, who am I to question the extend of the ordeal that these folks have gone through, and what it may take to assuage their trauma?
This does serve, I think, as a warning to every employer. Since we live in a
worldcountry where mass shootings have become so commonplace and so little is being done to address the issue, employers need to be more vigilant than ever about these kinds of complaints, and more aggressive in dealing with potential problems.