5 unanswered questions about Target’s alleged firing of an employee for reporting a suspected shoplifter


Dallas Northington, 29, was a plain-clothes security officer at Target in Leesburg, Va. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

(The latest: Police say they will seek charges against shoplifter in Target case)

The claims by Dallas Northington that he was fired by Target for reporting a shoplifter, after working in security for the company for eight years, has attracted significant outrage.

Some believe his firing may have been related to the suspected shoplifter, who Northington said was a Fairfax County Sheriff’s deputy. Here are some unanswered questions about the case:

1) Target told Northington he did not follow proper procedure in contacting the Leesburg police. What is that procedure?

2) Target has a close working relationship with law enforcement. Did that affect their actions? Target sponsored National Police Week in the District this year and contracts with the Minneapolis Police Department to assist with surveillance video analysis.

3 ) Since Virginia is an “at will” employment state, what options does Northington have now?

4 ) What is known about the suspected shoplifter and why would either Target or the Leesburg police want to protect him?

5)  Many commenters and Tweets reflect outrage towards Target. Will they reverse course?

As I get answers to these questions, I’ll follow up with further posts. Stay tuned. And for the original story, click here.

Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.
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Tom Jackman · July 14