Target Employee Commits Suicide

Graham Gentles
A Target employee committed suicide apparently after being humiliated at a store. The mother of 22-year-old Graham Gentles filed suit, and her attorney describes his experience at the store: 

"While he was cuffed he was paraded through the store into a room and was interrogated there," attorney Patrick McNicholas said. "He was then paraded back out to the store, put into a patrol car and taken to Pasadena police station."

Gentles was accused of stealing but wasn't charged with a crime. 

Gentles' attorney says that he had autism: "He was hyper focused on his loss, and it was a perfect storm which resulted in his death." His mother says that her son told her, "Mom this is the worst day of my life." The suit also claims that the "walk of shame" is part of Target's disciplinary policy. Target issued this statement: 

"Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the friends and family of this individual. The allegations in the lawsuit of a Target policy or practice are simply not true. There is no such policy. As this is pending litigation, we don't have further comment at this time."

Discussion Starters: 

  • What is Target's potential responsibility? Do you believe the company is to blame for Gentles' suicide? 
  • Assess Target's statement. How appropriate is it, given the situation?