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Work in late night retail? Alone?

  • Issued: October 2015
  • Content last reviewed: October 2015

Retail businesses and gas stations can be targets of shoplifting, gas and dashes, robberies, and violence. Workers who work alone or in isolation may be particularly vulnerable to violence and other hazards in their workplaces.

How to respond in the event of a robbery

During a robbery, stay calm and look after your own safety. Money and merchandise can be replaced, people can’t.

Do...

  • Try to remain calm and alert.
  • Play it safe. Don’t be a hero. Cooperate, give up the money or merchandise, don’t resist.
  • Keep yourself safe and call 911.
  • Observe as much as possible; the description of a suspect can be crucial in making an arrest. Make note of details to share with police, such as:
    • Description of vehicle: make, model, colour, condition.
    • Licence plate number.
    • Description of the thief/robber including sex, age, race, clothing, or any other distinguishable characteristics.

Don't...

  • Be confrontational.
  • Fight back. Hand over the money or merchandise without a struggle.
  • Chase after or follow the robber. Your employer can’t make you. That’s the law.
  • Lock the door to keep a suspect from leaving. A person who feels trapped is more likely to panic and become violent.

What to do after

  • Lock the premises.
  • Call the police and follow their instructions.
  • Report the incident to your manager/employer.

Prevention Tips

  • Know where a list of emergency contacts is.
  • Don't make bank deposits alone.
  • Don't leave back doors open and unattended.
  • Don't empty garbage at night where bins are in secluded places.
  • Don't stare or confront anyone loitering. Keep a casual eye out. Offer assistance.

Your Employer

Your employer has a legal duty to give you a safe place to work. Your employer must provide you with health and safety training.

Employers can make their premises less of a target by following these guidelines:

  • Ensure the premises has good lighting.
  • Ensure the premises has good visability with clear sightlines not blocked by signs on windows or objects in the store.
  • Post signs that there is very little cash on hand.
  • Designate a person who will check on you at scheduled intervals.
  • Provide an internal locked employee-only area.

Deductions from Wages

By law your employer cannot deduct wages for expenses arising from theft, such as gas and dash or shoplifting, damage to employer property, failure to pay by customer. If this is happening to you, contact us at 1-800-531-5551.

Health and safety questions?

Call us: 1-877-202-0009
Health and Safety information: Ontario.ca/healthandsafetyatwork

Concerns about your wages?

Call us: 1-800-531-5551
Employment Stardards information including deductions from wages: Ontario.ca/employmentstandards

ISBN: 978-1-4606-6636-4