Viral video | Supermarket worker fired for filming theft - should he have been sacked?

Supermarket worker fired for filming theft - should he have been sacked?

A supermarket worker has been fired for filming three men stealing nearly £400 ($500) worth of washing up detergent.

The employee, who worked for US supermarket chain King Soopers, immediately whipped out his phone and started recording when a group of men decided to steal a large number of cleaning products.

In the viral video, the shop worker Santino Burrola is seen approaching the thieves as they load their car with the stolen goods. "Really bro? You gotta resort to this? The economy's not that bad," says Burrola in the clip before ripping foil off the vehicle revealing the car’s number plate.

Following this situation, Burrola went into work for his next shift and was surprised to find out he had been suspended, later losing his job altogether, on the grounds that he breached company policy about intervening in a theft.

In a comment to CBS News, Burrola said: "All I did was just record criminals and reveal them. I would never let any criminal conduct slide, especially when it's happening right in front of me.”

While King Soopers explained the reason for Burrola’s dismissal, saying the supermarket has "security measures in place to help prevent crime and deescalate such confrontations to minimise the risk to our associates."

Reportedly, the video became useful to the authorities, who were able to track down and arrest the driver of the car.

Good worker, bad worker

This unusual situation highlights a few interesting concepts.

Despite breaking company policy, Burrola was doing what he thought was necessary to protect the company from theft, with the video later becoming an integral part of the arrest of one of the perpetrators. Is it right for an employer to let go of a worker over a situation where they thought they were doing something genuinely helpful?

Read more from us

But, an employer might argue that breaking company policy around intervening in theft could have ended in serious injury for the worker, which would have caused some serious issues for the company who may end up liable for damages.

Yet, from Burrola’s perspective, his actions could be a part of an attempt to protect his employer from wrongdoing, something closely tied with an employee’s engagement and loyalty to the company. From Burrola’s reaction to his dismissal, it’s clear he is in disbelief as he felt he was doing the right thing in support of the organisation, while the move from King Soopers to sack him could possibly have a trickle-down effect of disengaging ex-colleagues and reminding them they are easily replaced, even if their heart is in the right place.

Comments (1)

  • lee
    Mon, 10 Jul 2023 1:01pm BST
    Dismissal is when the relationship is in absolute tatters and after every possible avenue has been exhausted - to dismiss an employee with several years of good conduct, performance and attendance for such a thing shows the American attitude for hire and quick fire - in addition if the policy was clear that employees should not to be involved when theft acts occur and if he had got injured they could have merely stated its his own personal negligence as he failed to follow the policy and they would have been fine in court - I suspect other rational were also at play that had nothing to do with the theft issue are at play here.... as I cannot believe any company would be so stupid knowing the global attention it would receive for the WRONG reasons

You are currently previewing this article.

This is the last preview available to you for the next 30 days.

To access more news, features, columns and opinions every day, create a free myGrapevine account.