Company Policy, Indiana Law Clash In Kroger Shooting

Kroger Could Fire Worker Regardless Of State Law

A top criminal expert in the Indiana Legislature said Tuesday that the law supports the Kroger employee who police said fatally shot a would-be robber, even if company officials decide the worker violated store policy.

Kroger forbids employees from having a gun on the premises, but the law puts employees in a quandary, RTV6's Norman Cox reported.

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Indiana law allows people to use deadly force to defend themselves, but employers can still fire workers for having that deadly force with them in the workplace.

Indiana law states that "a person is justified in using reasonable force to protect himself or a third person from what he believes is necessary to stop or prevent serious bodily injury or the commission of a forcible felony."

But most companies have stringent rules against having a weapon in the workplace. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce fought hard to prevent the Legislature from creating an exemption to allow guns in locked cars in company parking lots, but the law passed.

The gun rights battle continues to rage. While many people said they support what the worker did, some of those same people don't think guns should be allowed in the workplace.

Kroger spokesman John Elliott said Tuesday he wouldn't discuss his company's policy because of the ongoing investigation.

Marsh, a competitor to Kroger, said its policy reads that "possession of any weapon of any kind on company property, in any company building or at company-sponsored events is not allowed," with some exceptions.

Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, said that while companies can have such policies, he thinks they shouldn't and doesn't believe an employer should second-guess an employee's right to self-defense.

"If they've got a policy that says that their employees can't do that, I wouldn't work for them, personally," Steele said. "I guess they can fire him, but at least the guy is alive, so he can go get him another job."

Steele said Monday's incident appeared to have worked out fine, even though someone died.

"I'm sorry for the guy's family, but when you make a silly decision, you know, you pay the price sometimes," he said.

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