- Associated Press - Monday, September 21, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Utah Supreme Court has sided with a group of Wal-Mart employees who were fired for altercations with suspected shoplifters who were brandishing weapons, ruling that the workers had the right to fight back.

Friday’s 4-1 ruling sends the wrongful termination lawsuit back to federal court, where five former Wal-Mart employees had sued the retailer.

The initial lawsuit comes from two incidents. At a West Valley store, two employees grabbed a suspected shoplifter who then pulled out a pocket knife and threatened to stab them. In Layton, three employees grabbed a suspected shoplifter who was carrying a gun. The employees were fired after both altercations.

Wal-Mart officials said Friday that the ruling sets a bad precedent and that customer and employee safety is a top priority.

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