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Elena Laura Logan, Case 4, HRM702-H1WW, Prof.

Kim Campbell, December 13,


2015

To: Kim Campbell, Professor of Employee Rights,


Responsibilities, and Discipline;
Franklin University, OH
Inc. From: Elena Laura Logan
Subject: Dietz v. Finlay Fine Jewelry
Date: 12/13/2015
Dietz v. Finlay Fine Jewelry

A jewelry store clerk, Melissa Dittoe Dietz, was not able to properly assist a customer during a
transaction. To compensate the increasingly irate customer, the store clerk offered a ten percent
discount, without seeking authorization from a manager. When the transaction came to the
attention of the head of security at the jewelry store (Finlay Fine Jewelry), the clerk was asked to
go along with him to the interview room. The clerk was further interrogated for approximately
one hour.
What were the legal issues in this case? What did the court decide?
The plaintiff, Mrs. Dietz, brought the following claims:
invasion of privacy, in which the security supervisor divulged information regarding the
employees credit issues to other employees;
false imprisonment, in which the employee was held and interrogated about the discount
and missing articles of jewelry;
defamation, in which the security supervisor accused the employee of a substance abuse
problem and claimed that she stole the items to support her habits;
infliction of emotional distress, in which the security manager acted in an intimidating manner;
intentional interference with the employment relationship, in which the employee was
dismissed as a consequence to her applying the unauthorized discount.
What was the basis of Dietz's privacy tort claims? How are infliction of emotional distress
claim why would they rejected?
During the interrogation, the security supervisor talked about the plaintiffs credit issues, while
two other staff members were present. Since there was no special relationship (Walsh, 2013, p.
611) between the plaintiff and the employees and no real harm was done to the Mrs.s Dietzs
reputation, the claim was dismissed. Furthermore, while the plaintiff was intimidated by the
security managers behavior, his conduct was not contemptible enough to inflict real and longlasting emotional distress.

Elena Laura Logan, Case 4, HRM702-H1WW, Prof. Kim Campbell, December 13,
2015

What was the basis of her false imprisonment claim? Her defamation claim? Why was she
allowed to go on trial on them? Is she likely to prevail at trial?
The plaintiffs false imprisonment claim is based on her allegation that she was not able to leave
the interview room. The plaintiff also claims that the security manager urged her verbally to stay
in the room, and she felt that her physical safety was threatened if she would have attempted to
leave. Accusations were made, in regards to the missing articles of jewelry, targeting the plaintiff.
While shopkeepers statutes and common law permit employers to take act reasonably into
protecting their property against theft (Walsh, 2013, p. 612), in this case, there was no proof of
such. The fact that several employees were present during the interrogation could play favorable
for the plaintiff. However, Dietz signed a document maintaining she was free to leave the room
at her will. In this case, due to the presence of other employees who can confirm the facts, the
interrogation and the general and intentional intimidating attitude of the security manager, the
plaintiff could see a favorable outcome of the trial.
The defamation claim was founded on the fact that the security manager made offensive
statements, accusing the plaintiff of having a substance abuse problem and theft while other staff
members were present. Due to the extremely defamatory nature of the statements and
accusations and if the assertions prove to be false indeed, this claim seems to have great chances
of success.
What, if anything, should this employee have done differently?
From the description of the case, it is not obvious if the employer engaged the security
supervisor into proceeding with the interrogation. Either way, the general demeanor of the
security guard is exaggerated, with no tangible proof of theft. The interview would have likely
had a more positive outcome if conducted respectfully, in a more reasonable manner. In regards
to the missing articles of jewelry, Finlay would likely have had better success at tracking them if they
involved the authorities. In this regard, further training and a set of precise workplace rules of
conduct is recommendable. The same goes for the jewelry store clerks. It is in the best interest of
a business with a high trade value to rigorously train the store clerks into making educated
decisions in regards to discounts. In this case, the clerk was correct to give the customer a
discount.

References

Elena Laura Logan, Case 4, HRM702-H1WW, Prof. Kim Campbell, December 13,
2015

Walsh, D. (2013). Employment law for human resource practice. Mason, OH: South-Western,
Cengage Learning. ISBN: 978-1-111-97219-6