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CA Lawmakers Push Bill Banning Store Staff From Halting Thieves

June 14, 2023 | By Kali Girl

California lawmakers are seeking to pass a controversial bill that would prohibit retail employees from intervening when thieves attempt to steal from their establishments, reports Newsweek. State Senator Dave Cortese introduced Senate Bill 553, which has been approved by the State Senate and will now proceed to policy committees in the State Assembly.

Cortese aims to enhance workplace safety and shield staff members from being compelled by their employers to intervene during robbery incidents. However, some store executives are vehemently opposing the proposed legislation, with the California Retailers Association ridiculing the initiative as an open invitation for thieves to “to come in and steal.”

California is embroiled in political disputes following the tragic killing of Blake Mohs, a Home Depot security guard, during a robbery attempt in Pleasanton, CA. The state is grappling with rising lawlessness, with San Francisco experiencing a surge in crime.

As a result, Whole Foods shut down its downtown store within a year, citing concerns over staff safety. Nordstrom also recently exited the city. While smaller businesses face attacks, they have been left with no alternative but to stay put.

In November, Target issued a statement blaming “organized retail crime” for a whopping $400 million loss in its profits in 2022.

Cortese, a Democrat representing Santa Clara County told Newsweek: “SB 553 is focused on protecting employees. The bill does not prohibit employees from stopping theft. It does prevent employers from asking non-security personnel to confront a person involved in criminal activity. We don’t want rank and file employees to be forced to place themselves in harm’s way.”

In an interview with KTVU 2, he said, “What we’re saying in the bill is it’s not ok for employers to take a rank-and-file worker, somebody whose job is really something else… and say, ‘Hey, you know, if there’s an intruder, we’re going to deputize you to intervene.’ People get hurt and often killed that way.”

Should the bill become law, it would mandate employers to provide active-shooter training to their workforce, maintain a comprehensive log documenting any violent incidents, and grant companies the ability to apply for workplace violence restraining orders.

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