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Employee injured in robbery attempt loses job

HoneyBaked Ham says it terminated Richard Huether's employment so that it would be easier for him to receive long-term disability.

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CARY, N.C. — 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.

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.



Beau Minnick, Reporter

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