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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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--------- Forwarded message ----------From: "Criseyde Brew"

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--------- Forwarded message ----------From: "Criseyde Brew" Date: Dec 1, 2012 1:45 AM Subject: finally To:

I work for a company that contracts with different malls to promote a product, mostly perfumes. I was working in Macys and the security there hasvery detailed rules. I had asked them to tell me all their rules and thought they had told me all of them. But one day I was working in the Macys and I had to throw out something. The closesr garbage can was right outside of Macys however still inside the mall. I had the merchandisei was selling on me as i didnt want to put it down for it to possibly get stolen from me. I stepped out into the main mall for no more than 15 to 20 seconds to throw it away. I went back in Macys to continue working, but about 1 minute later 2 security officers from Macys came over to me and told me to come with them to security office. They initially asked me if I knew what I did wrong and said I had no idea. He actually ini told me how uch money Macys losesper year on theft. Then he explained that it was a serious violation of rules to step outside the Macys mall withcany merchandise. I had just stepped out of Macys but only to the main mall not outdoors to my car. They kept me in their office for 2 honours to write one report. They initially wrote that i knew of this rule but i wouldnt sign until they wrote the fact that I didnt know and was never informed of this rule. My wife happened to call me as she always does on her way home and i told her what happened. She tried 4 5 4 to to the security as English is my 3rd language and perhaps there was a misunderstanding. However they grabbed the phone from me and hung up on her e"hey then escorted me to 5 my backpack which only had my stuff i it and had been in Macys the whole time .They checked that bag and found nothing. Then told me to leave for the day. I told them i was not done with my shift but they said to go home answers. All this time I tried to call my boss who was not available. She called me back on my way home and then called security. As per my boss she told me that they told her that it "was not a big deal until they spoke to my wife who said they could not hold me without the police or proof of theft.

Thank you for your question. I'm sorry to hear about this situation, as it seems unfair.

In actuality, they cannot hold you at all, as they are not law enforcement officers (they are only security guards). Thus, this situation might be what is legally known as "false imprisonment." However, them telling you that you cannot leave is not the same as them forcing you to stay there. Unless they locked you in a room and physically prevented you from trying to leave, then no claim for false imprisonment will arise.

The next issue we need to address here is what potential effects it can have on your employment. Since you are not directly employed by Macy's, but work for a contractor, it is only the contractor (your boss) that can terminate you. From what you've told me so far, there has not been any indication from your boss that your job is in danger. The single legal issue that could arise out of this would be a claim against the security guards for Tortious Interference with a Contractual Relationship. They knew you were not a Macy's employee. They also knew that you did not know the rule regarding removal of merchandise from the store. Thus, if they file a false report with your employer, they could be liable to you for damages under this theory of law.

Finally, we need to address any potential criminal charges that might arise out of this situation. Theft requires proof of intent and actual completion of the crime. You stepping out into the mall with merchandise and then immediately returning to the store, given the circumstances, does not qualify as theft under the Florida Penal Code.

In the end, you have essentially been the victim of some very over zealous security guards. I suggest that you work with your boss to file a complaint for this and see if Macy's management will discipline the security guards for their ridiculous behavior.

Please let me know if you need further information or wish to talk about this situation further.

Best Regards,
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