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Employee injured in robbery attempt loses job

Posted September 25, 2009
Updated September 26, 2009

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— An employee at The HoneyBaked Ham Co. store in Cary who was shot while on the job is now without a job.

Richard Huether was closing the store in Crossroads Plaza in April when, police say, a gunman approached him, attempted to rob him and shot him.

Suspect sought in Cary Honey Baked Ham shooting Injured HoneyBaked Ham worker dismissed

An employee for three years and general manager for 16 months, the husband and father was shot in the stomach – about four inches from his heart.

Several surgeries later, he's still unable to go back to work. Doctors tell him that the earliest he could return to work would be in December.

Huether has been on worker's compensation since April. When the benefits expired, he received an official notice that HoneyBaked Ham terminated his employment and canceled health benefits for him and his family.

Out-of-pocket, he said, those benefits would cost about $1,200 a month.

Huether said the company promised in e-mails to keep him and his family "whole financially." For him, that meant keeping his pay and medical benefits intact.

"I mean don't try to say you're this warm, fuzzy family company with family traditions and all this other stuff," Huether said. "The facts are not matching what's been said to me."

Maggie DeCan, vice president of human resources, said the decision to terminate his employment had to do with following workers' compensation rules and that his release could make him eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

"We are a value-serving company," DeCan said in a statement. "We do the right thing and serve others. We couldn't feel any worse for Rich, and we would do anything we could for him."

The company, she also said, hasn't ruled out rehiring Huether once he is able to work again. Executives also plan to revisit the case next week to see if there is anything further the company can do.

DeCan said the company had been willing to help Huether with the process of Social Security disability benefits but was advised not to after Huether hired an attorney.

Meanwhile, authorities still have not charged anyone in the attempted robbery.

Police said the suspect seen running from the area was described as a white man between 16 to 25 years old and was wearing a gray hooded jacket, a white and green ski hat, blue jeans and multi-colored shoes.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Cary Police Department at 919-469-4016 or Crime Stoppers at 919-226-2745.

20 Comments

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  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Sep 29, 2009

    Seems like we did not get all the information about this story. Here are some clips from an email that I received from HBH:

    "In the aftermath of Rich's unfortunate injury, we provided meals to him and his family and visited him at the hospital and at his home. We continued this support until we were asked to stop. Rich continues to have access to 100% employer-paid long-term disability benefits and workers' compensation benefits, which are available to all HoneyBaked Ham full-time employees. These benefits provide associates with the near-equivalent of full take-home pay. Additionally, since the accident, HoneyBaked Ham has more than made up the difference between his workman's compensation wages and his take-home pay in direct payments to Rich.

    In an effort to reduce some of the stress of health insurance costs, HoneyBaked Ham is stepping forward to reimburse Rich for his COBRA payments."

  • FromClayton Sep 28, 2009

    well no more honey baked hams for me. BOYCOTT!

  • NCViewer Sep 28, 2009

    I would urge people to monitor this story, and if it proves to be true as stated, organize a viral anti-marketing campaign via Facebook, MySpace, etc. to let everyone in the country know about it. Maybe together we can effect corporate behavior change.

  • concerncitizen Sep 28, 2009

    VoiceOfReason, I agree. Somethings not quit right here! We all know WRAL can sometimes get the story wrong? This man should have had an attorney from day one! Folks, if you are injured at work get an attorney, ASAP!

  • Caring Sep 28, 2009

    Smithfield Hams are really good. No more HBH for my family either!

  • White Eagle Sep 28, 2009

    Gee what a warm, fuzzy, family friendly organization. I love the logic about firing the guy so he can draw compensation from Social Security. What about his family? Can they too get coverage from Social Security? Somebody in that organization needs to be fired for having blown a chance to show people how caring and family friendly they really are. The cost to keep the guy on has to be a lot cheaper then the cost to repair their reputation. What a bunch of jerks.

    Remember to buy your holiday hams and turkeys elsewhere!!

  • lboyd Sep 28, 2009

    Well no more honey baked hams for me. It is unbelievable that a company would do this to someone who took a bullet for them.

  • ConcernedNCC Sep 28, 2009

    No more HBH unless they fix this right away. They should be paying him, keeping up his medical, as well as paying his deductibles because of how he was injured.

  • 6079 SMITH W Sep 25, 2009

    What exactly is a "Value-serving company"?

  • pbjbeach Sep 25, 2009

    Whatelseisnew:

    I personnaly agree with your post on here about hbh company they should be boycotted until such time as they make things right for this former employee who evidently was shot on their time at work an trying to protect their investment. an then they just dump him an his family on to the public dole so to speak just sothat they aren't responsible for this person an his familys health care until he is completely healed an able to return back to work. if this is the meanin of family values comming from the republicans an the coporate world as a whole i definetly do not want any part of it. pass the obama health care plan now an it would help to protect people just such as this guy an his family thank you

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