Pasadena Target Allegedly 'Shamed' Employee To Suicide
A lawsuit is claiming that a Pasadena Target drove one of their own employees to suicide after forcing him to do a "walk of shame."
Virginia Gentles filed a lawsuit against the store, alleging that the company's policy for handling employees accused of theft humiliated and shamed her 22-year old son Graham into taking his own life. Graham Gentles jumped from the roof of the Courtyard Marriott hotel in Monrovia on July 18, just three days after he was allegedly handcuffed and "paraded" in front of coworkers and employees. "He said that it was the worst day of his life because he didn't understand what was going on. They humiliated him. That was their purpose," Virginia Gentles told ABC 7.
"One of the primary purposes of this lawsuit is that Target stops the policy immediately [and] recognizes the harm that it could do," says attorney Patrick McNicholas.
The lawsuit also says that Graham Gentles had Asperger's syndrome, and "experienced severe emotional distress" after the incident.
According to the suit, Graham Gentles showed up to work on July 15 and was forcefully grabbed, handcuffed, and had his pockets emptied by police and store security. He was led to an office in the store, all in plain view of employees and customers. He was later taken to the police station but was released and never charged. "I had to do the walk of shame. But they only do that when people steal and I've never stolen a thing," he later told his mother. The suit also says that Graham Gentles and a coworker got into an argument at a bar outside of work, which may have led to the coworker accusing him of theft.
On Friday Target released a statement saying, "Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the friends and family of this individual. As this is pending litigation, we don't have further comment at this time."
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone, remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt, and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.