Families Sue Over Dollar General Employees’ Deaths

Oct 29, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The families of two former Dollar General store clerks murdered by a co-worker are suing the chain for failing to adequately screen the employee before hiring him.

Roy Lee McDuffie is charged with the murder of Janice Shneider and Dawnielle Beauregard and is scheduled to go on trial for crimes in January.

According to a report in the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Mr. McDuffie told the police after he was arrested that he lied on his employment application claiming he had never been convicted of a felony.

Mr. McDuffie, the victims’ families claim, had been arrested more than 25 times and convicted of felonies five times before joining Dollar General as a manager trainee.

Dollar General claims that it did a background check on the alleged murderer. Tawn Earnest, a spokesperson for the retailer, said, “The implication that none was done was just wrong.”

“We had no way of suspecting or knowing Mr. McDuffie was a murderer. . . if that turns out to be the case,” she said. “Nothing in our background (check) turned up to suggest that.”

According to Ms. Earnest, the company has already contributed $10,000 to trust funds for the victims’ children and paid six weeks income to each family after the murders took place.

The families of the two murdered women seek compensation for pain and suffering and funeral expenses under the Florida Wrongful Death Act.

Moderator’s Comment: Does Dollar General bear some responsibility for the murders of its employees in this case?
What can retailers do to improve their screening process?

We’ll leave the merits of the lawsuit up to others, but it’s seems clear in this case that the background check done by Dollar General on the prospective
employee, Roy Lee McDuffie, was insufficient.

The suit filed against Dollar General has some similarity to cases against Wal-Mart in South Carolina. In two separate cases there, the retailer came under
attack after associates, previously convicted for sexual offenses, assaulted children in its stores.

Wal-Mart has since announced it will do criminal background checks on all potential hires.
George Anderson – Moderator

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