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Static over dryer sheets comes out in the wash

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in Human Resources

Fourteen employees of a Costco store in Hackensack, N.J., took recycling a bit too far when they started reusing customer coupons for free fabric softener and dryer sheets. The employees wound up paying a high price for their “free” loot. When investigators brought the matter to the attention of store manager Sami Nasr, he fired all 14 employees.

Costco might have come out of this episode clean as a whistle, but for a bungled exit interview during which Nasr allegedly called the ring leader of the laundry larceny “the kingpin of the Colombian mafia.”

Nasr’s prosecutorial zeal gave the suds syndicate the opening it was looking for. The employees filed suit claiming harassment and discrimination based on Nasr’s comment and his use of the term “thieves.”

But a federal court determined Nasr’s comments didn’t stain Costco’s case against the group and dismissed the case. With that, the group’s hopes went down the drain.

Note: Even though the employer came out smelling like a rose, employers should remember to refrain from ethnic-based comments and just stick to the facts when investigating employee theft.

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