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Family Dollar Fined After Employee Dies Stopping Shoplifter

The US Department of Labor has proposed $330,446 in penalties to a Family Dollar store in Orlando after an investigation into a fatal shoplifting incident.

On Dec. 11, 2021, a 41-year-old employee experienced shortness of breath and nausea after attempting to stop a shoplifter from escaping with merchandise. An assistant manager then called 911, but the employee later died at a local hospital from cardiac arrest.

Following its investigation of this incident, the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Family Dollar Stores Inc. for entrapment hazards and issued a hazard alert letter for exposing employees to hazardous conditions associated with workplace violence. OSHA urged the company to develop and train employees on proper procedures in case of a robbery or shoplifting incident, and to provide a means for workers to request immediate assistance from the local police department or alarm company.

OSHA said that Family Dollar did not alert them to the worker’s death until Dec. 15, which brought on a $11,396 fine for failing to notify within eight hours. OSHA also cited the national discount retailer for a willful violation for keeping an emergency exit door locked with a single key held by management. In addition, the agency issued citations for two repeat violations for failing to keep an unobstructed pathway for workers to walk through, and for allowing aisles to remain obstructed by carts and merchandise boxes. However, OSHA said none of these violations led to the employee’s death.

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