Wal-mart forces employees to search for bomb along with police

Here is the newspaper article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060711.wwalmart0711/BNStory/National/home

There was a bomb threat called in to a Wal-mart in Quebec. The management forced the employees to search for the bomb alongside the police. On a TV report, a Walmart flak said that the employees were not forced to search, however, the TV report also interviewed an ex-employee who had refused to search, who said that the employees were forced to search.

Wal-mart has been fighting unionization in Quebec for the last few years. I hope that this convinces the employees that they should unionize.

Huh? Since when would the police allow civilians to be part of such a search?

Who knows what those crazy Canadians do. :slight_smile:

As much as I think everyone has a right to be in a union if they so choose, it isn’t for lack of desire among the employees that unions don’t take hold at WalMarts-- they’ll close shop rather than accept union employees.

BTW, it wasn’t “WalMart” who made the employees hunt for the bomb, it was one (apparently) nutty manager. Unless you can show that it’s company policy, I think you’re barking up the wrong tree here.

I don’t understand that part, either. It has always been my understanding that when there is a bomb threat, one of the first priorities is to evacuate civilians from the area. But this is Quebec we’re talking about, not Canada. :smiley:

Several years ago, I was at a political Party’s State Convention, when the local authorities reported that they had received a phoned bomb threat. They stated that they felt it was a hoax, but they still recommended that we recess and all leave the Convention Center for an hour or two so they could search the building. (It was about 4:45, and the caller claimed that the bomb was set to go off at 5:00.)

Some delegate made a motion to recess, someone else moved to substitute adjourn for the day, and the body started debating. The debate went on and on. Finally the Chair pointed out that it was now 10 minutes after the claimed time for the bomb to go off, so the debate was rather moot, and suggested moving on with the Convention’s agenda.

So this political convention continued their work, despite the alleged risk to their lives from a supposed bomb threat. (No actual bomb was ever found. Later, it was found that the threatning phone call had come from a pay phone near the headquarters of the opposing party.)

To give some more explanation:

  • many people, including the police and Fire Marshall, felt that the bomb threat was a hoax.
  • it was late on Saturday afternoon, and there were many events (partys!) scheduled for that evening. Had the Convention recessed for several hours, it’s likely that many people would not have come back that evening. Possibly not even a quorum.
  • pushing this till the next day would have made the Convention run longer, on the last day when people wanted to get done and go home.
  • the Convention was in the middle of an endorsement contest. On Sunday, the Convention usually ends by mid-afternoon. Many delegates go home Saturday night, and leave their Alternates to vote on Sunday. The Alternates may vote differently than the delegates. Also, campaigns often have less knowledge of who the Alternates are supporting. So leaving this till Sunday would have meant that a different set of people would be voting, and people whom the campaigns were much less sure of their positions. So the candidate campaigns preferred to keep voting that day, rather than recessing till the next day.

So there were a lot of reasons people didn’t want to leave. But it did seem odd to be debating while supposedly a bomb was ticking away!

The actions of management are often imputed to the company itself under the doctrine of Respondeat Superior.
respondeat superior
(rehs-pond-dee-at superior) n. Latin for “let the master answer,” a key doctrine in the law of agency, which provides that a principal (employer) is responsible for the actions of his/her/its agent (employee) in the “course of employment.” Thus, an agent who signs an agreement to purchase goods for his employer in the name of the employer can create a binding contract between the seller and the employer. Another example: if a delivery truck driver negligently hits a child in the street, the company for which the driver works will be liable for the injuries.


Wal-Mart has been hurt by the stupidity of individual managers before - hiring practices, not paying overtime, hiring illegal immigrants. At some point (and I don’t really have an opinion on whether Wal-Mart has or has not reached it) you look at the level of stupidity across management and start to say “Wal-Mart needs to have better store manager hiring practices and better training once managers are in place.” I know Wal-Mart is one of the biggest and most hated retailers, which means their screw ups are more common and over reported, but at the same time, the media isn’t reporting “Kohl’s fined for using illegal immigrants”

I am suprized even the Quebec Police would really let the Manager hold a shot-gun on his employees and *force *them to search. :dubious:

Perhaps you mean “the store manager ordered them to search”? Was the “ex-employee who had refused to search” fired on the spot? See, this is where you tell the crazed manager “sorry, no” and if the crazed manager fires you, then it really is WalMart’s fault if they let the firing be official or if they over-rule and perhaps discpline the Manager.

Has WalMart made a statement?

It does sound fishy, doesn’t it. I thought that the first action by law enforcement in a bomb scare was to evacuate the premises. I can’t imagine cops letting any employees stay in the building once they (the cops) have been called in.

A further link: http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060711/Walmart_bomb_060711/20060711/

Yes, the police and Wal-mart had the employees search the store. Wal-mart denies forcing the employees, however, several employees found the experience traumatic and, as I stated above from my viewing of the TV news report, one of the employees quit rather than search the store for a bomb.

Quibbling over whether the employees should have quit or simply refused and be fired misses the point that the employees felt so compelled to search for a bomb that they obeyed their employer despite it putting them at risk and despite it traumatizing them.

Similarly, quibbling over whether or not Wal-mart should shoulder the blame for a truly vile manager misses the point that Wal-mart is responsible for the actions of its management that are made within the peformance of their duties.

I doubt very much if a union shop would permit such nonsense. If Wal-mart choses to withdraw from Quebec to avoid untions, good riddance. That sort of treatment of employees is inexcusable.

Hell, they’ll probably promote the guy to district supervisor…

When I was employed by a public library, the cops parked around the corner and waited until after zero hour to walk in. We employess searched the shelves for the dynamite the guy I talked to described. :slight_smile:


From the article:

According to police, the store didn’t violate any laws and only had an obligation to evacuate the store if a suspicious object was found.

This will surprise you, but evacuating the premises is hardly ever done
by the police during a bomb threat. Only when the threat has been verified to be credible (an extremely rare occurrance), or a suspicious object or package is found (also very rare) will we clear out a privately owned building or business.
In in almost all instances of a bomb threat it is the property/business owner or manager who makes the call to evacuate.

If I responded to a bomb threat at a business and promptly evacuated everyone without any cause except someone called in a threat, I’d be setting myself & the department up for a lawsuit.

What will also surprise you is how common bomb threats are. They’re so common (especially in bigger cities) that they usually don’t make the papers.

I thought I couldn’t sue the Police.

I learned it then. Mine as mosr was bogus. I don’t think Mama even heard about it on the news. :slight_smile:

If this store was unionized, it wouldn’t have made a damn bit of difference to this incident (up till this point). Unions aren’t effective enough to react immediately to new issues and the shop employees would still have to consider the possibility of getting fired for refusing work while the shop steward is trying to make contact with the union rep. to seek approval for job action. All he gets is the answering machine.

I would agree that a union might be more useful to a future outcome of this incident, but considering Wal-Marts high profile and pr problems, it wouldn’t be by much.


Of course you can. Cops/departments get sued all the time.

Suing successfully is another story.

In the case of an officer clearing out a store with nothing more than a phoned in threat, a business might have a good case for lost revenue.

This is not legal advice, by the way. It’s only what I was taught. We had a mandatory class in Bomb Threat Response during our annual in-service training last March.

All areas initiate zone defense…


Good job electronics!! Thats the spirit. Gimmie a squiggly!

Bombs are in Aisle 4.

I’m pretty sure that’s right. The Manager is more than another employee, he’s an Agent of the company. If this wasn’t the case, you could go up the line to the CEO, who would throw his hands in the air, shrug, and say I’m not Wal Mart, I’m only the CEO.

The Manager speaks for Wal Mart. That’s why he gets paid the big bucks.