(PatriotWise.com) — A former Missouri Starbucks employee who was fired after he helped confront two robbers has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the coffee giant, NBC News reported.
Michael Harris, 20, was working the drive-through at a St. Louis Starbucks on December 19 when two men attempted to rob the store.
Witnesses reported to the police that one of the men, Joshua Noe, 37, struck an employee in the head with a pistol and ordered him to open the cash register.
According to KSDK, that employee was Michael Harris.
Harris told the outlet that he thought he was going to die. But when the pistol broke after Noe struck him on the head, he realized that the gun was fake. It was then that he and a co-worker decided to “fight back.”
The second suspect, 35-year-old Marquise Porter-Doyle, fled the store once the employees fought back. Noe, on the other hand, was arrested at the scene after Harris and the other employee restrained him until St. Louis police arrived.
Harris told KSDK that several weeks later, Starbucks fired him without giving him a reason for his termination.
Starbucks said in a statement that “partner safety” was “at the core” of operations at their locations. It explained that workers must follow “carefully crafted protocols” to ensure customer and employee safety in situations like these. Workers are trained to “comply” in robberies and “de-escalate,” both for their safety and the safety of their customers.
Ryan Krupp, Harris’ attorney, told KSDK that the company’s policy was unfair.
Krupp said neither employee created the “dangerous scenario.” Instead, they did what they should have done in such a scenario. He added that it was unreasonable for Starbucks to expect employees who face danger or potential death to not try to defend themselves.
Both Noe and Porter-Doyle were charged with three counts of first-degree robbery, six counts of first-degree attempted robbery, and one count of third-degree assault. Noe was also charged with one count of second-degree assault for striking Harris on the head.
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