Salt lake city -Utah Supreme Court issued a strong endorsement of self-defense as public policy in a claim arising out of private action. In Ray v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the court held that an employee’s right of self-defense trumps an employer’s right to fire an employee, including an employee who can usually be terminated without specific cause (an “at-will” employee.)
The case stems from an incident in January 2011, when six workers were fired after they fought with a shoplifter who pulled a gun on them inside the Layton Wal-Mart. The company had claimed the employees violated Wal-Mart’s policy of disengaging, withdrawing and alerting authorities.
The case involved two incidents where a total of four Wal-Mart employees were fired after using force – in self-defense – against armed shoplifters. In the first case, three employees at the Layton, Utah, store confronted a customer who hid a laptop computer in his pants. After employees escorted him to the store’s security office, the shoplifter drew a gun and grabbed one of the employees, pressing the gun to his back. The other employees grabbed the man, seized his gun, and held him for the police.
In the second event, two employees at a West Valley City, Utah, store grabbed a shoplifter after she tried to run away. She pulled a pocketknife and threatened to stab the employees unless they released her. Afraid of what would happen if they let go, they kept hold while a customer helped grab the knife.
Utah law reflects a policy favoring the right of self-defense, and that policy is of sufficient magnitude to qualify as a substantial public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine, but only under the narrow circumstances where an employee cannot withdraw and faces.
Therefore it is this courts finding that Wal-Mart's policy violated the 2nd ammendment and that their employees have the right to carry a concealed firearm while they are at work.