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Office Max / printer cartridge recycle program

1 United States

After getting laid off during the economic downturn, my son worked for Office Max for 9 months as a bridge to returning to Grad School. He had to move to another city to attend grad school so he transferred from one Office Max to another after 8 months of employment as an assistant manager.

While working at the first Office Max, he inquired with his manager if he could partake in the Printer Cartridge recycling program which paid $3.00 per cartridge (max 10/week) for all working and empty printer cartridges. His manager didn't know and told him to call Loss Prevention to inquire. Loss prevention indicated that employees were encouraged to recycle and that he could recycle up to 10 cartridges per week, just like a customer.

My son then purchased 100 used cartridges for $1.00 each from a seller on EBay who did not live close enough to an Office Max store to take adavantage of the program and turned in 10 per week per the programs guidelines. When he completed his recycling, he used the gift card to purchase office supplies and a new laptop for school (over $600.00 worth of product) and paid the balance from his own funds.

Upon transferring to the new Office Max, he worked for a month before he received a better job offer through the University with better hours and working in an office as opposed to a retail environment. When he turned in his 2 weeks notice, he immediately began receiving harrasment from his management team telling him that he'd better fininsh his scheduled shifts (20 hours/week which he intended to complete) and not burn his bridges (which he did not intended to do). 7 days after turning in his notice, he was pulled into the office and questioned by the manager and the same loss prevention person he had spoken to earlier about his fraudulent use of the printer cartridge recycling program, basically telling him that they thought he was stealing printer cartridges that had already been turned in and then recycling them again. The questioned him for half an hour and asked him to write a statement. When he completed his statement, they wouldn't let him leave the office until he added some other comments to his statements basically stating that he would pay back the entire $300 he had earned if Loss Prevention found him guilty and requested repayment. They then handed him a form that told him that he had admitted to fraudulent behavior and that the lawyers would be investigating him and he could face termination (ha, he had already resigned). He was then told he was being suspended indefinitely while Loss Prevention and the Lawyers investigated his activity (not very likely that they would bring lawyers in at thier bill rate to investigate a potential $300.00 fraud case but a nice scare tactic to try and get someone to just admit fraud and pay back the money).

He was told he had to call back in 5 days to find out what would happen and that if he didn't he would be immediately terminated (7 days from this date was his last scheduled work day so he was done either way). When he called back on day 5 he was told that the person that he needed to talk to was on vacation and wouldn't be back for a week and that he should call back then. Later that day he received a phone call from loss prevention thanking him for his cooperation and telling him that he had been found to have not broken any laws or Office Max policies (thankfully, he kept all of his receipts from EBay and from when he recycled the cartridges) and that they now considered the matter closed. He then asked if he should show up for his shift that evening and was told that no, his shift had been covered and that he did not need to report to work that day or the next (his last day was the following day). He then asked if he would be paid for the 27 hours that he had been scheduled to work but had been suspended due to the investigation which found him without fault and they laughed at him.

What a great company, an employee betters himself and finds a job that he doesn't have to work weekends and nights and gets to work in an office using skills from his degree and gives 2 weeks notice and they retaliate by accusing him of fraudulent behavior and suspend him without pay with absolutely no proof. It would have been better for him to just resign and walk away with no notice but he has way too much integrity for that.

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