The employee claims that Walmart refused to take action against the now-suspected gunman, who was a supervisor at a Chesapeake, VA, store, even after he made repeated, disturbing statements to coworkers.
A woman who survived the recent mass shooting at a Walmart store in Chesapeake, Virginia, has filed a lawsuit against the retailer, claiming that she had repeatedly warned the company of the “bullying, threatening and harassing” behavior exhibited by the suspected shooter.
According to The New York Times, plaintiff Donya Prioleau said that she had previously lodged a formal complaint against the man, who was employed by Walmart in a local supervisory position.
Prioleau said that she filed her complaint after the man made “bizarre” and “inappropriate” comments.
In her lawsuit, Prioleau notes that her mother visited the store as recently as September to warn employees and management about the man’s behavior, largely because she “very concerned for her daughter’s safety.”
However, Prioleau’s mother was told that the store would not take action because the supervisor was “liked by management.”
Randy Hargrove, a spokesperson for Walmart, told the Times that the company is reviewing the lawsuit.
“We are reviewing the complaint and will be responding as appropriate with the court,” Hargrove said.
Prioleau’s attorneys state that their client was present during the November shooting and witnessed the killing of several colleagues by the gunman.
Her lawsuit broadly accuses Walmart of negligent “hiring and retention” practices, citing the shooter’s “known propensities for violence” and “strange behavior.”
The complaint adds that the suspected shooter, Andre Bing, had made troubling statements in the days before the killings. Bing had, for instance, repeatedly asked his colleagues whether they had received active-shooter training. When they responded that they had, Bing “just smiled and walked away without saying anything.”
Bing also reportedly singled Prioleau out for abuse, asking if he could “borrow her hair” and whether she should be having children.
Bing, Prioleau’s attorneys wrote, “had a longstanding reputation as a cruel manager” and had “been disciplined” for his misconduct in the past.
Walmart, states the lawsuit, had at one point demoted Bing for “improper and disturbing interactions with others,” but later reinstated him as a “team leader.”
During the time of the shooting, Bing was still charged with overseeing the group of employees who restocked the store at night.
Prioleau, for her part, claims that she narrowly escaped the shooting. In her lawsuit, she recalls bullets “whizzing” past her “face and left side.”
While Prioleau was not injured by gunfire, she did sustain injuries to her knee and elbow after slipping and falling.
Prioleau is requesting an estimated $50 million in compensatory damages.
A Walmart spokesperson emphasized that the company is trying to provide employees with the resources they need to recover from the incident.
“The entire Walmart family is heartbroken by the loss of the valued members of our team,” Hargrove said. “Our deepest sympathies go out to our associates and everyone impacted, including those who were injured. We are focused on supporting all our associates with significant resources, including counseling.”