A barman has said he was given an ultimatum to reimburse money stolen at gunpoint or being fired from his job.
The armed robbery occurred at a bar in the western Las Vegas Valley on December 4, 2020.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement at the time, a male “brandished a handgun at employees,” before the suspect “fled the business with money taken from the business.”
Edward Parker, 42, who was reportedly working at The Lodge bar at the time, has now said his employers instructed him to reimburse them for their financial loss.
The barman has published his version of events he described as a “cautionary last call” to the Vegas Bartenders & Servers Facebook page, which was shared by the Vital Vegas Twitter page, a news and tips site popular locally, on September 20.
The Twitter account reports Parker writing: “I was then given the choice to pay back the money that was stolen to keep my job or get fired (TRUE STORY).”
A photo purporting to show the Lodge repayment form was also uploaded to the private Facebook page with around 14,500 members, described as “the largest gathering of bartenders, servers and industry professionals who live and work in the Las Vegas Valley.”
If you hear our brain explode, it’s because this was posted in a local Facebook group and appears legit. How is this legal, fair or in any way acceptable? pic.twitter.com/uBXea5NC1L— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) September 20, 2021
This is cited as proof of the bartender being presented with two stark options: repaying the stolen $3,937.35 in full through a “lump-sum payroll deduction” or via $300 “equal deductions from paychecks.”
He added in the Facebook post how he felt remorse about his decision, writing: “I’m ashamed to say that I was terrified of losing a great paying job during a chaotic time in America and chose to pay the money back and stay employed. I will regret that choice for years to come.
“And I REALLY thought it was classy when they asked me about the incident BEFORE actually asking me if I was OK. I’ll never forget that.
“My point is I hope you all stick up for yourselves when your moral/ethical compass is challenged by those in power.
“Loyalty in the service biz is a rare commodity these days on both sides and for good reason, I guess.”
Local attorney Robert Murdock wrote in an email to local newspaper the Las Vegas Review-Journal the incident could be an example of an employer taking advantage of its workers.
Murdock, who has been contacted by Newsweek for comment, wrote: “To me, the threat of losing one’s job if they don’t pay this money that was taken from a robbery is a violation of public policy and could very well result in a wrongful termination claim against the Bar.”
Las Vegas police have arrested Jack McLaughlin, 42, and Daniela Tito, 38, in connection with a string of robberies, including the one at the Lodge, still according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The pair were indicted on various charges, including of robbery with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery, burglary with a firearm.