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Labor attorney weighs in on teen allegedly murdered by coworker in Colorado Springs Walgreens

Arrest documents say victim told her manager her coworker, who was arrested for her murder, made her uncomfortable before she died
Posted at 3:00 PM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-20 17:01:32-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — In light of arrest documents released after a Colorado Springs student was allegedly murdered by her coworker inside of a Walgreens, many are wondering what potentially life-saving steps could have been taken before it was too late.

Riley Whitelaw, 17, was found dead by her manager in the break room at the Walgreens off of Centennial Boulevard on Saturday evening. Her coworker, 28-year-old Joshua Johnson, was arrested later that evening in connection to Whitelaw's death.

According to an arrest affidavit, Whitelaw told her manager about one year ago that Johnson made her feel uncomfortable and was making unwanted advances towards her.

"Employees who are subject to these complaints are often not immediately fired because there is no obligation for an employer to do so," explained Bradley Sherman, a labor attorney in Colorado Springs.

Whitelaw's manager reportedly spoke with Johnson about her concerns and her manager thought Johnson was "receptive."

According to Sherman, employment laws do not require employees accused of harassment to be fired, even if the victim making claims is a minor.

"I'm not aware of anything expressed in the law that takes that into account. However, the employer is expected to act reasonably and I do believe there's a good argument that... what is reasonable for protecting a minor should go above and beyond what is considered reasonable for protecting another adult," Sherman said.

TESSA, a nonprofit in Colorado Springs, works with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and welcomes anyone dealing with harassment or stalking. You can reach Tessa here.

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