Pharmacist Jeremy Hoven worked at Walgreens in Benton Township, Michigan. After a robbery in 2007, Hoven complained to management about security at the store. While he waited for improvements, Hoven obtained a concealed carry permit. In 2011, at 4:30 a.m. on May 8th, the pharmacist used his concealed firearm to defend himself against armed robbers who’d entered the store, taken a manager hostage and tried to shoot him. It was all captured on a dramatic video [above]. A local police Lt. said . . .
he’d have done the same thing. From abcnews.go.com:
Township police Lt. Delman Lange, after reviewing surveillance video, told the local paper, “If it was me, I would have done the same thing.”
Eight days later, Hoven was fired from his $150,000 a year job at Walgreens. Four months after being fired, in September of 2011, he filed a wrongful employment lawsuit, contending that Walgreens had violated his right to self defense.
Fast foward nearly three years. Jeremy Hoven lost the initial court case (it was a federal lawsuit). He appealed to the Sixth Circuit. On 2 June, 2014, Sixth Circuit Judge Karen Nelson Moore ruled against him and in favor of Walgreens.
Hoven filed a lawsuit against Walgreens claiming his firing violated his self-defense rights and his rights to carry a concealed weapon. The court disagreed, citing Hoven’s status as an at-will employee who could be fired at any time, for any reason.
While I think that Walgreens’ policy is short sighted and counterproductive, while I think Jeremy Hoven did the right thing, I also believe the court made the correct decision. Private companies, just like private individuals, have the right to do stupid things. Jeremy Hoven was an at-will employee.
As stated above, his employer could fire him at any time, for any reason. It is not unusual for professionals who work “at-will.” It is unusual for companies to fire them for protecting themselves.
Walgreens had the right to fire Jeremy Hoven for any reason it wants. Everyone else has the right to shop, or refuse to shop, at Walgreens for any reason that they choose.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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