Manager Quits Sporting Goods Store After Being Forced To Sell Gun To Threatening Man

by Mike Julianelle
Originally Published: 
Image via ABC7

She lost her job after refusing to sell a gun to a ‘threatening’ man, so now she’s suing

She didn’t want to sell a gun to a man she thought was behaving in a threatening manner, but her bosses disagreed. They gave the man his gun, and she resigned. Now she’s suing for wrongful termination.

Delilah Rios is taking the Big 5 Sporting Goods store to court for wrongful termination after she refused to sell a gun to a customer.

“People always say, ‘When you see something, say something.’ That was exactly what I was doing,” she tells ABC News. “He just seemed very aggressive and forceful to get his firearm.”

According to the details of the suit, the customer came into the Downey, California Big 5 store, passed the required written test shortly before closing time, and proceeded to enter the restricted area to retrieve his license and wallet, claiming he was in a hurry. Rios reported his odd behavior to other managers. When the man returned two days later to continue the process of purchasing a shotgun, he became aggravated when she informed him that his friend couldn’t assist in filling out federal forms. He then accused her of selling him the wrong gun and stormed out when Rios told him exchanging the gun would require a 40-minute reprocessing period.

Again she reported his behavior. Again he returned and they had another confrontation when he was able to get what he wanted quickly enough. Later, Rios found unused ammunition that Big 5 didn’t sell, near the area the customer had been. This was all too much for the manager, who expressed her concerns to her supervisors, and was dismissed.

“I was told multiple times that I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to and just to release the firearm to the (customer) to get him out of the way,” she said. Eventually, that’s what happened, but not until the customer returned for his gun one more time and began berating Rios, until the police arrived to calm the altercation. The lawsuit states the cops were on the manager’s side, but her bosses were not. Another manager was brought in to finish the transaction, even providing the customer with a $25 gift card for his trouble.

Afterwards, Rios attempted to transfer to another store, fearing retaliation, but was denied her request. So she resigned.

When the incident occurred, in February of 2015, Rios had worked at the store for 10 years, but neither her experience, loyalty, or role as manager seemed to matter. The customer is always right, even when the customer is rude and aggressive and wants to purchase something that is designed to kill things.

Despite the fact that the man was legally permitted to buy the gun, it seems at least fairly prudent for an experienced employee to make a judgment call, especially when it comes to the purchase of a weapon. Especially when a customer has repeatedly displayed erratic behavior.

Regardless of what he was trying to buy, it’s disappointing that a store wouldn’t stand behind an employee of ten years. Instead, she found herself resigning. According to the lawsuit, she is seeking compensation for her lost wages and benefits, as well as the mental and emotional damages she’s endured.

Let’s hope the man who bought the gun was just having a bad few days, and that he doesn’t inflict any damages of his own.

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