Walmart Shooting: Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Red Flags at Work

On November 22, a Walmart employee killed six people and himself. It’s a nightmare that no one wants to experience. Business owners are limited in how they can protect people from customers off the street, but they can and should do more about employees.

According to a lawsuit filed by another Walmart employee, Donya Prioleau, she claims she made complaints regarding the shooter, calling his behavior bizarre and inappropriate.

Prioleau is suing for negligent hiring and retention. In a statement, Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said, “We are reviewing the complaint and will be responding as appropriate with the court.” (This is standard procedure for a lawsuit, and almost all companies respond to pending cases in this manner.)

If Prioleau is correct and she and others raised concerns about the shooter’s behavior, how should Walmart have responded?

To keep reading, click here: Walmart Shooting: Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Red Flags at Work

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3 thoughts on “Walmart Shooting: Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Red Flags at Work

  1. That’s wonderful advice, to call EAP for yourself. If you’re not sure whether the behavior you saw is serious enough to require you to take steps or if maybe you’re just blowing things out of proportion, you can bounce it off them and get an objective viewpoint. The workplace violence training we got indicated that most situations that got out of hand had involved red flag behavior ahead of time, but people who saw it were afraid that maybe they’d be making a mountain out of a molehill, so they did nothing about it.

  2. Every EAP I’ve ever had has included resources for management – I think we all forget about it, but it’s a great resource. Another useful thing (at least from a “thinking about what to do” standpoint) is to go to YouTube and search for “Run, Hide, Fight” – it’s a video put together by FEMA and the City of Houston, and it’s a great way to get folks thinking about “what if”.

  3. The way the complaints are handled by the HR departments involving employees complaining about interactions with supervisors is admittedly a bit dismissive to allegations because it is merely they said/he said situation because they haven’t seen the exchanges and are only hearing about it. Think of it as the running joke about the $1000 reward for caching someone littering/dumping. The documentation has to include actual video proof on the security cameras, not just words of complaint. A person in a supervisory position is also given a bit of leeway in expectation of a worker complaining about them because it is harder to get someone to replace them. In this Walmart situation, the overnight supervisor replaces the worker who is just another minimum wage employee. Despite the positive vibes put out by the Walmart corporation, working for them is not the ideal job, especially if working the overnight shift where you have to clean up, plus restock the entire store while also taking care of customers nonstop with a much less staffed group of employees. I used to work overnight during my career life, on top of working a day job and taking care of my home and my children. Besides working against the normal cyclical body timing, you are also dealing with being given all the jobs not done during the day shift workers they didn’t want to do, plus all the cleanup that should be done but also ignored by the day shift. What I am trying to say is that the person in charge of the overnight shift is highly pressurized to get things done while having the least efficient workers. You either have to be able to go with the flow and let things slide or eventually go bananas—there’s a phrase called “going postal” that applies quite well.
    As far as knowing and reacting to “signs of abnormal behavior”, that would require more attention to the pressures made on the employees’ performance while not creating anxiety reactions. Something that requires compassion for the employees beyond being a cost factor that constantly needs to be trimmed. This lack of compassion is creating these potential hazards. Just look at the forced contract placed on the US railroad workers by Biden’s signature concerning paid sick leave and figure out when the next accident will occur.

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