“A Deadly Deal–Part 2”

“A Deadly Deal–Part 2”

A DEADLY DEAL© (Cont'd)

extortionThen he threatened me that he'd tell everyone at work what I was up to if I didn't pay up the balance.  Then I told him that was extortion, and extortion was illegal.  But Johnny doesn't seem to think so, and he keeps hounding me.   Well, I'm sick of it.  So, I just figured, I might as well tell on myself and beat him to the punch.  No telling how he might make more of the story than was true."

"Has Johnny threatened you in any other way?" Rex asked.

"No, not really, but do you think you can get him off my back?"

"I'm not sure.  I'm not even sure any crime has been committed.  Let me do some investigation, and I'll get back to you."

Rex met with Johnny when he arrived for his shift.  He presented Mandy's story to him and asked him if it was true.  Johnny, as Rex suspected, denied everything.

With Mandy's disclosure, it was unlikely that Johnny had anything further with which to threaten her.  It was also unlikely that Johnny would arrange to carry out the hit on Mandy's husband because she hadn't given him enough money.  Besides, if something did happen to her husband, Johnny had already been implicated.  Since Mandy's change of heart prevented the crime from taking place, there seemed no real reason to involve the police, so Rex closed the case.  Both Johnny and Mandy remained employed by the company and continued to work without further incident.

PANEL COMMENTS

Sometimes you wish you hadn't parked so far from the guard shack!  As more stories of employee rampages at their place of employment are covered in the news, people begin to question the safety of the work place.  Employer liability in terms of what they "should have known might happen" are forcing businesses to anticipate new ways to protect their workers.  In this case, Rex should have investigated the matter further and documented his findings in Mandy's file.  Just because this turned out all right doesn't mean that Johnny wasn't extorting from others or behaving inappropriately toward the company in other matters.  We would be very concerned about both of these people's honesty and judgment as workers.

LEGAL COMMENTS

Rex's decision that "there seemed to be no real reason to involve the police" is questionable.  It is rarely correct for a manager to decide unilaterally whether or not criminal activity occurred.  That is a question for the police.  At a minimum, the company should obtain the advice of competent criminal defense counsel before deciding what to do.  Indeed, Rex or the company may have liability for failing to report known criminal activity.  And should the "hit" actually take place, Rex and the company's failure to act could be disastrous for them (not to mention the hittee).  Finally, allowing Johnny and Mandy to continue to be employed appears to be inviting trouble.  Their participation in a palpably criminal conspiracy would almost surely be a sufficient ground to terminate them.

Excerpted from Outrageous Conduct:  Bizarre Behavior at Work©

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