Sunday, September 09, 2007

Company fires man for helping wounded woman.

Colin Bruley was dozing off in his apartment late one night when he heard a young woman screaming for help. He grabbed his shotgun and ran toward his apartment door. He put the gun against a chair by the door, in case he needed it, and went outside to see what had happened.

The woman yelled that she had been shot. At this point Bruley returned for his gun and ran to see if he could help her. He was joined by other neighbors who found the woman bleeding from the wounds inflicted by a boyfriend. Bruley gave the gun to a neighbor to hold while he administered first aid to the woman, while waiting for police and emergency medical personnel to arrive.

When it was all over Bruley was covered in the woman’s blood but had done much to save the her life. Word got to his employer; the first thing the next morning he was called to the office and fired.

Bruley was a leasing agent for the Oaks at Mill Creek, an apartment complex owned by Village Green Companies. He also lived in the complex. The excuse used by the company was that Bruley had violated employee rules which forbids “weapons in the workplace”. Apparently the company wanted to pretend that Bruley’s private apartment and that of his neighbor are part of his “workplace” -- something tenants might find a bit disturbing.

In addition this sort of ruling implies that Bruley actually has no private home of his own since his apartment was leased from the company. This could make life interesting. I would suppose employees aren’t supposed to be naked at work either which would make it difficult for Bruley to shower at home since that is apparently considered his workplace. Actually, this sounds more like some lame excuse made up by people to try to justify a stupid decision.

To say the least the firing resulted in lots of bad publicity for the company.

Originally the company said they couldn’t comment on their dismissal of Bruley because it would violate his right to confidentiality. But when the bad publicity piled up they threw out any concerns about confidentiality and started smearing Bruley in public with lots of accusations. Apparently the confidentiality excuse was a lie as indicated by their public smear job.

George Quay, president of the company which is located in Michigan, was inundated with angry emails. He now claimed that Bruley was fired because “he owed back rent and was facing eviction.” He said that Bruley was supposed to report incidents like this immediately -- conveniently ignoring the fact that it was 2 a.m. when the shooting took place and that Bruley told the office about the incident the morning. And while the victim called Bruley a hero, Quay was trying to make it out that Bruley had put her life at risk by using a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Any accusation in a storm. Quay complained that Bruley’s rent check had bounced but more on that in a moment.

Consider that Bruley was not at work but in his private residence. Also consider that at the time he was on medical leave from work and so not actually working for the company at all. He had eye problems which caused severe problems in sunlight -- good thing the shooting took place in the middle of the night.

Bruley was told he had done a bad thing. He was not supposed to treat the woman first and then call police. He was supposed to first call the property manager and then call the area director and only then was he to call the police. After he called the police he was to wait in his apartment, while the victim was bleeding from the wound, and wait until the police arrived. Bruley noted that the property manager doesn’t live on the property and the area director actually lived in Ohio.

Oddly a few months earlier Bruley was commended when there was a fight on the property. Bruley intervened and stopped the fight and treated a man who had head wounds from being hit by a baseball bat. There was no reprimand for refusing to wait in his apartment until the police arrived then.

And the gun that Bruley carried had one shell of bird shot in it. It might scare someone but was unlikely to do much harm. In addition Bruley had some training in emergency first aid. He had taken a first responder training course, took some nursing courses at college and had worked in a hospital transferring patients to the emergency room. Witnesses, the victim’s family, and the victim, all believe Bruley saved the woman’s life. His employer wanted him to wait and do nothing.

Now let’s move to the accusations that were leveled by the weasel at Village Greens. Bruley had worked for the company in Michigan. He was transferred to Florida. And he had just recently moved. It was recent enough that he didn’t have a lease with the complex. They didn’t mind such things since he worked for him. They only decided he needed to sign a lease the same morning they fired him. First they gave him the lease, then they fired him.

Bruley had been given a $1,500 moving allowance to take the job in Florida, which also included a $400 per month pay cut. His moving expenses were higher than the allowance and with less money coming in he asked if he could “play catch up” on the rent and was told this was acceptable -- after all he was staff.

The rent/bounced check issue was for the May rent. He says he was told he could pay it by the 25th of the month. He gave them a check on the 9th. They then told that since it was after the beginning of the month they could only accept a money order and couldn’t take the check. He withdrew the funds from the checking account and then purchased a money order which he gave them. The company took the money order. But they also deposited the check, which was no longer good since the funds had been withdrawn to give them the money order they demanded. So the checked bounced and then the company tried to charge Bruley $50 for a bounced check as well.

As for the eviction excuse it seems employees receive a reduced rent for living in the complex -- little do they know that their apartments are considered the “workplace”. An employee who loses his job is asked to leave the apartment because they get the reduced rent. That appears to be the eviction notice.

The woman who was shot is shocked at how the company, her landlord, has responded to this man. She told the Jacksonville paper that she told Bruley, “I thought you were going to go back to work as a hero and here you’re fired. That’s really crazy.” The paper said that the article with this story received 485,000 on-line hits and they were inundated with over 300 e-mails, all but one were supportive of Bruley.

Bruley says people were offering him money, which he was refusing. Meanwhile the morons at Village Green issued a statement saying they “don’t condone residents or employees jeopardizing their safety or the safety of others by intervening in police matters.” The term assholes comes to mind. There was a time when people who didn’t help others were attacked. Now you have jerks like this company attacking him for helping.

The victim says Bruley saved her life and that she no longer wishes to live in the complex because of the owner’s actions.

Mill Creek, which claims it respects confidentiality clearly doesn’t do that. They are lying about that. They publicly released a timeline that includes confidential information and distortions.

For instance they claim a property manager “had discussions with Colin Bruley about his delinquent rent” and about the bounced check. No doubt they did, what was discussed or agreed upon is not noted. And they fail to mention that the check bounced only because they took payment twice: once as the check they refused but then cashed and once as a money order. That is dishonest of them.

They also claim that on June 7, Bruley was told a lease had to be signed “because the initial lease could not be found.” That is another lie. There was no initial lease according to Bruley. The lease they gave him, the same day they fired him, was the first he had received from them. They also misreport things by saying “Colin attempted to administer first aid.” The use of the word “attempted” implies he did not do so or failed to do so for some reason. They really want to downplay how he helped save this woman’s life. They have to demonize Bruley and this means downplaying the actual aid he did give.

They get real fuzzy as to details. They say they gave Bruley a “three-day notice” “sometime in the morning” due to the previous check bouncing, which was their own fault. Then “sometime in the afternoon” Bruley was called in by the property manager and at 5:30 he was fired. They note that the next day Bruley asked for copies of the company handbooks and his personnel file but he was told he could not use the copy machine to get copies for himself. Apparently they didn’t want him to have copies of these things. And then the next day the company filed an eviction notice.

So what do I think happened from reading this? I think that the head office in Michigan got very upset because Bruley came to help this woman while carrying a firearm -- even though it was not one that could do much harm. I think they had a panic attack about the gun and fired him for that. I also think they are moral cowards who don’t want to say they fired an employee for that reason so they concocted excuses. They had him sign a last minute lease so they could say he was in violation of the lease for the bounced check, even though they were the ones who caused the check to bounce through their own stupidity. It the end I suggest the reason for all this stupidity is that the company president doesn't like individuals owning firearms for self defense.

They filed an eviction notice against Bruley only after they fired him. To claim they fired him because they were evicting him is another dishonest statement from the company. They reversed the order and are trying to cloud the issue to justify their actions.

Contact details for this company of morons can be found here.

You can reach George Quay at Other people to contact are; and

Note: This is the most up-to-date information that I could find regarding this case, which took place in June. This was not reported in the mainstream press I read normally and being outside the US means I sometimes get information like this later than I would like.
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