Jeremy Hoven was a pharmacist for Walgreens in Benton Township, Michigan. I say was because Walgreens fired him by e-mail a week after he defended himself and the store’s staff from a pair of armed robbers back in May.
Mr. Hoven has filed a wrongful termination suit against Walgreens. Mr. Hoven’s attorney, Peter Kosick, released to the media the surveillance tape of the event and ABC News has made it available.
As the tape clearly shows, Mr. Hoven was in the process of calling 9-1-1 when one of the robbers jumped over the counter and pointed a gun at him. It was only then that he drew his weapon and fired upon the robber.
Peter Kosick of St. Joseph, Hoven’s attorney, tells ABC News that, in his opinion, Walgreens should have commended his client for bravery. That, too, is the opinion of township police Lt. Delman Lange, who, after reviewing the surveillance video, told the local paper, “If it was me, I would have done the same thing.”
However, Walgreens disputes that Mr. Hoven should have protected himself along with the other employees in the store.
Though Hoven was licensed by the state of Michigan to carry a gun, Walgreen discourages its pharmacists from packing pistols. A spokeswoman for the drug chain told ABC News in an email that while Walgreens would not be able to disclose its policies, they were written to protect the safety of customers and employees. “Store employees receive comprehensive training on our robbery procedures and how to react and respond,” she wrote. Walgreens’ approach is “endorsed by law enforcement, which strongly advises against confrontation of crime suspects. Compromise is safer.”
While Walgreens says compromise is safer, the question is for whom? The employee or the company and their insurance company? I plan to stick with my decision made back in May to not give my patronage to Walgreens.
H/T Stephen Wenger
UPDATE: ABC’s Good Morning America gave the story quite a bit of air time this morning. They even brought in one of their legal reporters to discuss the lawsuit. He made the point that even if they can prove that Mr. Hoven knew of the “non-escalation” policy, it seems like “a stupid time to enforce it.”