May 19, 2006

Coerced Confessions - A Corporate Abuse


In a recent column I wrote about police interrogation tactics that lead a surprising number of people to confess to crimes they didn’t commit. It turns out that corporate America has followed suit. Many large corporations take a “loss prevention” approach that utilizes training manuals modeled after the leading police manuals -- using the very techniques that cause false confessions.


Last month . . . A civil jury struck a blow for corporate accountability, socking AutoZone with a verdict of $7.5 million in punitive damages.

The case stemmed from events several years ago, when a store manager became convinced that one of his employees (a loyal worker with a sterling reputation) had stolen $800. The manager followed the playbook. He had a security guard grill the employee in a small office for almost three hours, confronting him with false evidence and threatening his discharge and arrest unless he confessed. If he did confess, he was assured, he could pay the company back and keep his job, and the matter would remain private.


In the case of the AutoZone employee, the company didn’t even keep its coercive promise -- it fired him almost immediately after his confession and took the amount he “stole” out of his last paycheck. But Joaquin Robles turned out to be the wrong person to mess with. His lawsuit not only gave him justice, but also shed the spotlight on the corporate coercion industry. The trial exposed the manual used by AutoZone's so-called “loss prevention” managers and produced testimony from other employees about similarly coercive treatment.


Yeah, I'm about to put in an application at Office Depot. I gotta save up some rent money this summer for New Orleans so I can just do school and not have to worry about working when I first move there. Anyway, this story is kinda scary, I would NOT want to be falsely accused of stealing and get damn near tortured for it.

I'm sure it won't, lets go over the Office Depot Code of Associates:

  • Fair and honest treatment of every individual is the standard
  • Communications of opinions is encouraged
  • We attract, develop and promote the most qualified people
  • There exists a balance between family, community and the company
  • We recognize and reward accomplishment
  • We encourage a positive approach to work
  • We conduct ourselves with uncompromising honesty and integrity
  • Hard work and having fun go hand-in-hand
Man, AutoZone should adopt Office Depot's school of thought, you know they care about their customers down there at the 'ol Office Depot...

They haven't even hired me and I hate them, haha.

1 comment:

sdRay said...

My name is Ray and I just started a new blog about how to go to confession. Its a place where you can chat about how to go to confession confidentially. I hope you will come and check out Thanks for letting me post on your site.