Is a Good Samaritan a Good Employee?
Employees who stop working to help other people may be satisfying a moral duty, but does that justify them leaving their job duties? Some employers don’t think so.
Last week, a Long Island bus driver was fired after letting three police officers on his bus during a violent storm. He says he didn’t think twice before helping out – and was fired for picking up “unauthorized passengers.”
We’ve seen similar situations before. A 2007 lawsuit involved a Tennesse store clerk who ran out of the store to help defend a woman being attacked by a criminal. The store fired him for getting involved in an incident that was “none of our business.” See Don’t Fire Samaritans.
Another 2007 case involved a Bakersfield school worker who helped police tackle a suspect. The district refused to pay for the employee’s medical bills, claiming his job didn’t include helping the police. The Court ruled the employee acted reasonably in the emergency situation, and ordered the district to cover the employee’s expenses. See Comp Covers Vigilante’s Detour.
For contrast, a 2000 case involved a Pennsylvania Kmart employee who was injured while helping a co-worker who was being attacked by her abusive husband during a lunch break. Despite the employee’s good deed, the state Supreme Court ruled that she wasn’t entitled to workers’ comp since she wasn’t working when she was injured. See No Comp for Samaritan.
What do you think? Should “good Samaritans” always be considered “good employees” who are doing their jobs?