Is subjecting workers who steal from your company to humiliation in lieu of pressing charges a reasonable action to take? Not according to the mother of this deceased Target employee.
Gram A. Gentles, 22, was a cashier at Target’s Pasadena, CA, retail store. He jumped to his death from the roof of a Courtyard Marriott shortly after allegedly being subjected to an unusual from of punishment at Target.
According to a lawsuit filed by his mother, Virginia Gentles, Gram was handcuffed upon arriving at work just three days before his death and paraded through the store in front of both co-workers and customers.
Virginia’s complaint against Target goes on to say that Gram was then interrogated in an office before being forced to once again parade past co-workers and customers on his way to a patrol car. She then says Gram was taken to the Pasadena police station for further questioning.
The suit claims this was a practice other employees had experienced. Specifically, it alleges:
“The walk of shame is a Target policy to purposely cause shame, embarrassment and emotional distress to any Target employee who is suspected of stealing from Target.”
Target told NBC Los Angeles that it has no such policy, but declined to comment further.
Virginia’s lawsuit alleges false imprisonment, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Gram wasn’t charged with any crime, but Virginia said her son told her that day, “Mom, this is the worst day of my life.”
Virginia’s attorney claims the incident had a deep emotional effect on Gram because he suffered from Asperger’s syndrome.
The attorney claims that as a result of Asperger’s, Gram tended to “hyper focus” on things, and he became “very hyper focused” on the Target incident.
This created a “perfect storm” that resulted in Gram’s death, according to the attorney.