Shop-N-Save and a former security guard are engaged in settlement discussions regarding a suit alleging the plaintiff was terminated for disclosing information regarding an assault and for using a laptop to monitor the riots in Ferguson, Mo.
In an Aug. 22 order, Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder wrote that the plaintiff’s attorney Erin Phillips advises the parties are engaged in settlement. She postponed the matter for Oct. 24 at 9 a.m. unless the case is dismissed before then.
Christopher Rhodes filed the lawsuit on July 5 against Shop-N-Save Warehouse Foods and James Ishum, alleging violation of the Whistleblower Act.
According to the complaint, Rhodes claims he was employed as a security guard at Shop-N-Save, where he was supervised by Ishum. He alleges he was terminated from his position in late August 2014 after he reported information regarding two occasions on which he was allegedly assaulted by unknown, third-party criminals while working at the Belleville location and the Ferguson, Mo., location. The suspect was later arrested on suspicion of retail theft and aggravated battery.
He further alleges he was terminated for using his laptop while on shift. However, he argues that he was “’protecting life and property, in furtherance of the public policy of Missouri’ by using his laptop while on shift at the Ferguson Shop-N-Save during the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting.”
Rhodes claims he was using his laptop with permission from his supervisors to monitor the “dangerous” situation in Ferguson.
Shop-N-Save previously argued in its answer that the plaintiff did not engage in any protected activity and any alleged damages were the result of Rhodes’ failure to mitigate those damages.
The defendant also argued that any actions taken with respect to Rhodes “have been done with business justification and because of business necessity.”
“For further answer and affirmative defense, Shop-N-Save states that it would have taken the same actions regarding Plaintiff’s alleged employment even absent any alleged retaliatory motive,” the answer stated.
Madison County Circuit Court case number 16-L-941