Pharmacy giant CVS is facing public backlash after firing an employee who stopped a robbery in an Indiana store.
When Zac Phillips saw a man attacking one of his coworkers, he jumped into action and tackled the suspect but, instead of being hailed as a hero, Phillips and another employee have been fired from CVS for acting in what they believe was self defense.
"You really don't have time to think in these situations it happened in a flash," Phillips told WISH-TV. "He showed my pharmacist a note saying this is a pharmacy robbery." The suspect, later identified as Jagger Maupin, 22, was looking for oxycodone.
"He put his hands on my pharmacist and I was right there when it happened. I didn't know what was going to happen from that point. But, I wasn't going to let him hurt my pharmacist."
Surveillance footage of the incident shows Phillips and the pharmacist, who has not been identified, tackling the suspect as he tried to flee the store. Phillips held the suspect until police arrived. Maupin was arrested and charged with robbery, resisting law enforcement, obstruction of justice, theft, and battery.
A few days later Phillips and the pharmacist were fired.
According to Phillips, who had worked at the Greenfield, Indiana, CVS for five years, the company told him they had violated store policy by "initiating a physical confrontation." Phillips called it self defense, but CVS also prohibits that.
"We're not allowed to fight back, we're not allowed to do anything," Philips told WISH-TV. "We're just supposed to let them have these dangerous drugs and be on their way. They don't value anybody; they don't value employees; they don't value customers. They value money."
Now CVS is facing public backlash. Many were as shocked as Phillips by CVS' decision to fire both men.
According to a statement released by CVS, the policy is meant to ensure customer and employee safety and needs to be strictly enforced.
"The safety and well-being of our customers and employees is always our highest priority. We have stringent security policies and procedures in place to prohibit actions by employees that would jeopardize their safety and the safety of others. The actions of two employees at our Greenfield store during a recent attempted robbery violated those policies and procedures by initiating a physical confrontation, which led to our decision to separate them from the company."
While some could see the reasoning behind the policy, most just thought it was ridiculous.
And many angry customers are considering a boycott of the store.
Even though his actions cost him his job, Phillips told Insider he would make the same choice again. "That situation could have gotten worse and I had a chance to stop it before it got there, and keep those drugs from getting out to the street, where there is an epidemic of abuse of drugs."
One person pointed out how CVS employees may be able stop a robbery without losing their job.