Dollar Tree Pays Up

Many of you have already heard about the horrible case in which an employee by the name of Taneka Talley was working her shift at a Dollar Tree store in Fairfield, CA when she was killed by a stranger. This stranger admitted that he stabbed her solely because she was black. The employee was a single mother working to support her young son and herself.

Adding insult to this incredible tragedy was the fact that Dollar Tree’s insurer, Specialty Risk Services, LLC, did not consider this incident to be a valid workers compensation case and would not pay as such to her survivors. According to the insurer, ” Workers compensation death benefits can be denied if there is a personal connection between the attacker and the victim, meaning, the crime is not related to employment. The insurance company for Dollar Tree Stores, Specialty Risk Services, says a hate crime also makes the crime personal, not workplace related and therefore not subject to compensation.”

Well, today Dollar Tree has offered to pay the full amount allowed by California Workers Compensation on a voluntary basis. From SFGate:

In a statement Monday, Dollar Tree said it was acting voluntarily because “we feel this is the right thing to do.” But a lawyer for Talley’s mother and guardian of her 11-year-old son said the company was clearly responding to the public anger that followed news coverage of the case.

“I think they would like this to be done with,” attorney Moira Stagliano said. “The media helped settle this claim.” Stagliano said she’s optimistic about resolving the case but isn’t there yet. “What they have offered is not quite the full value,” and negotiations are continuing, she said.”

It’s pretty clear that Dollar Tree is acting, or should I say reacting, to community anger and pressure. Even so, it was the right thing to do in the face of such a tragedy.

I hope that the case gets settled, if not only for the sake of her poor son.

UPDATE: The case settled on January 9, 2009.