Goodwill Fires Worker With Down Syndrome After His Mother Buys Him A $3 Shirt

The Goodwill in Washington Iowa fired a thirty-year-old employee with Down syndrome after his mother bought him a $3 shirt. Goodwill initially refused to sell the shirt because of a policy banning employees from making purchases on days they were working. Another employee intervened and approved the sale after the employee’s mother explained both that she was a family member and not an employee, and that the employee with Down syndrome had no interest in buying clothes. When the employee reported to work the next day, he was fired.

[The worker’s mother] wrote to Goodwill of the Heartland President Jeff Nock explaining what happened and got back a letter saying, “We are sorry that things didn’t work out with Goodwill and [the worker]. … If donors and customers felt that our staff get any favoritism at all in terms of what staff are able to purchase from stores, donors wouldn’t donate and shoppers wouldn’t shop.”

The rules say violations of the shopping policy might be considered theft, and action “up to and including termination” can result. The misconduct section has four disciplinary levels, starting with verbal warnings.

Mark Zaiger, Goodwill’s attorney, said, “The policy is clear. The employer has the authority to terminate. . . . ” Goodwill spokeswoman Dana Engelbert said the shopping policy is strict because of a public perception “that Goodwill employees get all the good stuff.” But Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa is more flexible than its Heartland counterpart. Employees can’t buy things while on the clock, but they can before or after work. No one is fired on a first violation, said Marlyn McKeen, President.

While it’s great that Goodwill wants to fight the perception of favoritism, it makes no sense to fire a worker with Down syndrome for violating a policy that doesn’t appear to have been violated. Goodwill should reconsider its actions and show a little good will towards their workers.

Firing of Goodwill worker with Down syndrome raises questions [Lancaster Eagle Gazette]


Edit Your Comment

  1. tresser says:

    should it matter that the worker had Down syndrome?

    • rav3 says:

      yes because he probably cant defend himself to the full extent that someone that didnt have such impairment.

      • Mr. Pottersquash says:

        he can’t hire an attorney?

        • huadpe says:

          After the fact, sure. When entering into a high-pressure/high-stakes conversation with one or more (likely more) supervisors the day of the incident, probably not as much.

        • CyGuy says:

          Attorney’s in these sorts of cases get reimbursed based on a percentage of lost wages. I don’t think an employee working on the retail side of Goodwill is going to be pulling down a 6-figure salary, so they’d have to find an attorney willing to settle for at best a couple thousand dollars in fees.

    • Griking says:

      This was the first thing I thought when I read the article. This is about an employer firing an employee because they felt he broke company policy. Downs has noting to do with it….unless it’s being brought up to gain sympathy for the employee

      • QrazyQat says:

        If the employee was someone who had no particular problems preventing him from buying clothes when he wanted, then you might expect he’d asked his mother to buy him something to get around the rules. But his condition shows that this is not the case. It’s apropos.

    • Hoss says:

      If you’re saying that the policy violation was by his mother and he should not be responsible, I agree. But a charity being hard ass with an employee that probably has very low intelligence is relevant as a point of community relations

    • HighontheHill says:

      Shame on you Goodwill, the fired employee did not make the purchase and even if he had his diminished mental capacity should warranty the exercising of the verbal warning step prior to his firing…

      No more donations for you.

    • JediJohn82 says:

      ys, t shld mttr…rtrds shld b gvn lttl cmpssn snc th smtms dn’t fll grsp th rls.

      • msbask says:

        “Retards” should also be given a little compassion when they post comments that are meant to inflame on a public message board.

        • MamaBug says:

          “retards” does not have to be an offensive term, here. He has a genetic problem that causes him to be mentally retarded. “Retarded people” is a bit less offensive, perhaps, but “retards” still applies here.

          I have a retarded cousin, so, firsthand knowledge here.

          • pinkbunnyslippers says:

            Then I suggest you start understanding that the word “retard” is no longer an acceptable term, no matter how “applicable” it might be.


            • meltingcube says:

              I think I’ll start a website for, to state that I think the word “suggest” is not acceptable. No matter what, your going to have some that agree a word is applicable, and some that believe it is not. In this case, he used the word based on its definition. Did he come off sarcastic? Sure, but this is text, and anything anyone says can be taken in different forms.

              Oh, this might be of interest to you:

              • Clyde Barrow says:

                What is truly sad is the number of you justifying your bigotry by minimizing the social stigma, meaning, and intent of a word. Of course, there are you that state that is only a word but that is irrelevant to you, but you just living in denial. In addition, it is not only unprofessional to sue that word in any situation but simply ignorant to behave in this manner. I hope that none of you have children with such malady’s and if you do, what will you do when your child is called a “retard” jokingly by someone? Laugh with them? Well you can just laugh because “it’s just a word” based on what you’ve said.

                If some of you are at college, it’s time to use what you’re learning for the betterment of society, not just yourself to get a high-paying career from a piece of paper which means you’re supposed to learn a wider array of ideas, facts, and lessons which would help you to understand that not all people are the same and that those that are handicapped need our help and compassion. That is the difference between character and goodwill toward others and the problems that American management is having today which is acting out for the betterment of themselves. If you don’t know what I am talking about, hopefully you’ll learn.

                Goodwill acted out not in compassion toward their employee’s but as modern management in America acts today, which is a knee-jerk reaction to a situation that had no basis for the firing. It was done “just because” with no explanation because today’s management “doesn’t care” and so this “desease” has reached Goodwill also.

                So congrats all those who don’t seem to understand why “retard” is an inappropriate word. You’re on your way to being just like the management at Goodwill among just a few that we discuss here in this forum.

                • MamaBug says:

                  Did you see above where I have a cousin with agenesis corpus collosum, and the way to describe her is “retarded”? or sisterfuckhaus’s responses, where her intern has a child with Down’s, and uses the word? It’s only offensive if it is used as such. IN THIS CASE, he is mentally retarded. Therefore it applies.

                • pantheonoutcast says:

                  Sorry, but ceasing the use of a perfectly applicable word does nothing for the benefit of society. On the other hand, strangling our language with PC thought-police diversions most certainly has a negative impact on society; permitting one group of people with delicate sensibilities to dictate what is or isn’t acceptable language is not only foolish, it’s dangerous as well. What happens when the PC police decide that a word that YOU use in everyday conversation is “unacceptable”? For instance, I am severely insulted, as an educated person when people use the word “irregardless” in a sentence. Why? Because it’s not a word. Yet people use it all the time, and it makes them sound stupid and drives me crazy. Should I start a website denouncing it? Actually, that would make more sense – “Mentally retarded” should be a perfectly acceptable phrase (because it is accurate), and “irregardless” should be banned (because it’s six different types of incorrect).

                  People should never go out of the way to insult other people. However, language is meant to be descriptive and truthful, not euphemistic and confusing:

                  See that dark-skinned guy over there with the afro-cut? Yeah, he’s black. He’s not “African-American” because he could be from Jamaica. Or Philly. Hell, he could be from the Dominican Republic – a lot of people from DR are dark-skinned. However, if you ask me where the nearest ATM is, I can say, “See that store where the black guy is standing? In there.” I’m not going to spend time trying to determine his ancestral lineage. He’s black. Good enough.

                  That 5’4″ 170 pound woman? Lacking a scale for precise measurements, all I can say is that she’s short and fat. She’s not “big boned.” Dinosaurs were “big boned.” She’s not “vertically challenged” either. Rollercoaster designers are “vertically challenged.” She’s short. And she’s fat. I’m not going to go up to her and say, “Hey, how are doing, short fatty?” But if I need to describe her to you, short and fat will suffice. Because that’s what she is.

                  That man with Down’s Syndrome working at the Goodwill? He’s mentally retarded. Again, I’m not going to walk past him saying, “Out of my way, retard!” But if I need to describe him, “mentally retarded” is perfectly acceptable because it accurately describes his condition. His cognitive facilities are either disabled or otherwise lacking when compared to a normal adult. Shorthanding it to “retarded” is also perfectly acceptable because everyone will know exactly what you are talking about. It may be interesting to note, that while all people with Down’s syndrome are mentally retarded, not all mentally retarded people have Down’s Syndrome. A person born with a 75 IQ is mentally retarded. So are the people on YouTube who think it’s entertaining to stick lit firecrackers in their pants.

                  Sure, people use the word “retarded” as an insult, much the same way they use the word “gay” as an insult. It is my belief, however, that people who do this are, well, retarded, in the “firecracker in the pants” sense of the word.

                  And for the record, Goodwill, in this case, was completely, and undeniably in the wrong. The people involved in firing this poor man have shown the world that they are unable to use logical thought processes in order to reach a logical conclusion. In addition, their complete lack of compassion or empathy (ironic for a charity) illustrates that the people behind this decision are also without basic human emotions. You might go so far as to say they’re “retarded.”

                  • MamaBug says:

                    you articulate it better than I could. I just try and put it simply, in case their IQ is below 75, and people get all up in arms.

                  • zirconmusic says:

                    Just because something is medically correct doesn’t mean popular usage can’t change its generally accepted connotation. Words like “moron”, “idiot” and “imbecile” (among many others) were formally the correct medical terms to describe people with various mental handicaps. However, if nearly all of society is using these words in a pejorative manner, it’s hard to separate the pejorative meaning from the medical definition (even if the former is derived from the latter.) And obviously the medical community does not want to use definitions that carry highly pejorative connotations – especially when the very group those definitions describe has objected.

                    The same thing that happened to “moron” is happening with the word “retard”. The word is being used with very negative connotations basically all of the time. You can’t really argue with this. If someone says “Yeah, that guy’s a retard”, almost nobody would assume they literally mean the person being referred to is literally mentally retarded. They would guess that the speaker is referring to the 3rd party as stupid, lacking judgment, engaging in risky behavior, or some combination – of course, with generally negative, non-medical connotations.

                    This is where your “black” and “fat” analogies fail. If someone says, “Yeah, that guy is fat”, the vast majority of people would assume the person being referred to is, in fact, overweight. They’re not going to assume you’re actually insulting a thin guy in some way. Likewise with “Yeah, that guy is black.” People don’t use those words to describe non-black, non-fat people in a very negative way. People DO use regularly use the word “retard” (with negative intent) to describe people who don’t technically have mental retardation.

                    • pantheonoutcast says:

                      Yes, people do use the word “retard” to insult someone who may not actually be retarded. However, I clearly drew a distinction between using the word as a descriptor (as it was intended) and as an insult (which it was clearly not.)

                      Furthermore, just because a good portion of the population uses a word incorrectly, doesn’t automatically change the meaning of the word, nor should it. I don’t buy into the idea that “popular usage” has the power to change every single word. For instance, I don’t see Nabisco scrambling to update the packaging on its products because a few idiots use the word “cracker” (incorrectly) as an insult.

                  • Verdant Pine Trees says:

                    Your argument has already been derailed by the fact that an American woman who is 5’4″ is not short. She is about average height – unless you mean she’s not a man or a supermodel, yes, by those standards alone, 5’4″ is “short”. Depending on frame and muscle tone, a woman could be 170 and not appear “fat”, perhaps appear only 5-10 pounds overweight. Judging by the comic books I grew up reading, and my adolescent buddies, guys often underestimate how much women actually weigh and how much extra poundage contributes to the size most would define as “fat”.

                    I would agree with you about certain terminology being ridiculous, but you ignore the fact that if you’re in the minority, you want to have some control over how people refer to you, particularly if the word used for you becomes an insult… such as the case for “retard”. Also “fat”. It used to be that fat was simply the opposite of thin, but now “fat” is an insult thrown at people who are anything but.

                    As for the arguments about being called African-American, Negro, black, or a person of color, the first one is the best. Why? Because calling someone a person of color implies that they are the exception, not the norm – and the norm is naturally, implied to be “white folks”. It’s dumb, and I’m shocked that it has caught on. It would be like me calling myself a person with a vagina. Throw that term around and it does imply that men are the majority, even though they’re numerically outmatched on the planet.

                    “Negro” is just archaic. Do we call people of Irish extraction “Hiberians” or “Celts”, and our millions of German extraction, are they called “Teuts”? (There was a period a few decades back where folks like me were called “Huns”, come to think of it, and that was one of the nicer words). Likewise “Oriental”; it’s not even a proper term.

                    Overall, referring to someone as a hypenate-American is preferable to referring to their color, unless you’re speaking descriptively – that “swarthy” person could be any number of things, from Indian to Mexican to Arabic, after all; doesn’t it make more sense to refer to their appearance descriptively and not try to guesstimate their background in 1 second?. Namely, culture trumps color. My skin is white, but that doesn’t mean my background is not culturally distinctive, no matter how much someone wants to reduce me to the greatest hits of “Things White People Like”. I also know several pale-skinned African-Americans, one of whom could pass for my sister. Color is a reductive and ultimately unhelpful way of describing different cultural attitudes and backgrounds.

            • MamaBug says:

              I’ll kindly let my Aunt know, since she refers to her daughter with agenesis corpus collusum “retarded”. Damn her for being correct!

              • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

                My internist has a daughter with Downs. He told me that the people who run insurance companies were a bunch of retards. When an educated man with a retarded child doesn’t mind it being used in a derogatory way, it has a bit more meaning than if a bunch of PC control freaks with nothing better to do with their lives rally against the word.

                • MamaBug says:

                  i love you for common sense.

                • pinkbunnyslippers says:

                  Per my comment above, the Special Olympics is who created that website. If you think that organization is a bunch of PC control freaks with nothing else better to do with their time, then I’m really sorry and saddened to hear that.

            • MamaBug says:

              and the website you referred me to is wanting it to not be used in a derogatory way. However, medically, it still applies.

            • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

              Just because some people don’t like it doesn’t make it unacceptable. Millions of people find it perfectly acceptable to refer to a retarded person with the word retard. Many people also find it perfectly acceptable to use it in a teasing way with a friend. As long as the people present don’t mind, who cares what the hell they say? You aren’t the word police. Freedom of speech still exists.

            • cecilsaxon says:

              Words are never wrong. The way they are interpreted perhaps- but words never. Only the offended can give words such power.

              • kmw2 says:

                No, words have power because they are used with hostile, cruel, or thoughtless intent despite knowing and understanding that those words are hurtful.

            • pantheonoutcast says:

              Why? Because a small group of easily offended and overly-sensitive people decided it was “no longer acceptable” and decided to make a website?

              It doesn’t work that way.

              • pinkbunnyslippers says:

                I wouldn’t consider the Special Olympics organization a “small group of easily offended and oversensitive people”, but ok. Whatever floats your boat.

                “Mentally retarded” is vastly different from “retarded”. And using your argument, I’ll just call all black people negros from now on. Because technically, it’s correct.

                • pantheonoutcast says:

                  You mean like these guys do?:


                  Or these:


                  Or how about these fine people:


                  From the Special Olympics website:

                  “Special Olympics is a global nonprofit organization targeting the nearly 200 million people round the world who have intellectual disabilities.”

                  Now, Google “intellectual disability.” Go ahead. I’ll wait. What’s the very first link? You know, from the CDC?

                  Yeah, I thought so.

          • crashfrog says:

            No. Look, even when it was ok to call them “mentally retarded” it wasn’t ok to call them “retards.”

            • MamaBug says:

              see below: it’s hard to understand inflection from text.
              see also: medically accepted/appropriate term.
              see as well: When an educated man with a retarded child doesn’t mind it being used in a derogatory way, it has a bit more meaning than if a bunch of PC control freaks with nothing better to do with their lives rally against the word. (from sisterfunkhaus)

              • MMD says:

                Bullshit. If your “inflection” is misunderstood when you write, it’s because you’re a bad writer.

                Blaming the medium for the way your message is received is a cop-out.

      • ArcanaJ says:

        Retards? Really? And you were so close to walking upright for a second.

        • MamaBug says:

          see my response below: It is, technically, correct in this instance. Hate defending trolls, but he might not be, since it’s a term that applies.

        • says:

          Hey, it could have been worse. At least he wasn’t called a mongoloid.

          • MamaBug says:

            I thought that too, since it was the medical term for a loong time. My dad still sometimes calls them that – he got his psych degree in the 70s.

          • mandy_Reeves says:

            oh yeah…bunch of older family members love to call them mongoloids. I used to have a down’s friend when I was in first or second grade. Pretty sure a teacher or two called her that mongoloid term. This was early to mid 80’s

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          Do you think a mentally retarded person would really care that someone used the term retard? I hate it when people who aren’t mentally retarded get all up in arms about the use of the term retarded or retard.

          • RayanneGraff says:

            Me too. All ‘retarded’ means anyway is ‘slow’. To retard something means to slow it down. It’s not an insult, it’s a descriptive word for their medical condition.

            • erratapage says:

              It is an insult when 90% of the time you use the word, it’s an insult. You can’t use the “r” word to insult politicians and starlets and expect the mentally disabled not to be insulted when you use it to “describe” them.

              • AI says:

                Whichever PC word being used at the time to refer to mentally handicapped will inevitably be used to refer to politicians and celebrities as well. This just causes us to have to change the PC word we use to refer to mentally handicapped people every 10 years instead of using something consistent. First it was words like moron, idiot, and imbecile. Then it became retarded, handicapped, and challenged. Now we’re using special. That’s what really retarded.

            • Tim says:

              Right, and all gay means is “happy,” all fag means is “cigarette,” all asshole means is “anus,” nigger is just another way to say negro, which means “black” in Spanish, bitch just means “female dog,” cunt just means “vagina” … I could go on.

              Just because a word literally means one thing does not mean that it doesn’t have other obvious connotations.

              • pantheonoutcast says:

                That’s not a fair argument. All the words you cited are specifically intended to be used as insults. A gynecologist would never substitute “cunt” in a medical report, because the word “cunt” has no objective meaning other than an insult. And “gay” isn’t an insult to anyone. Gay people call themselves gay. Only guilty, awkward, straight people use the term “homosexual.” No one attends the “Homosexual Pride Parade.”

                Saying that someone is “mentally retarded,” however means that his intellectual capacity for processing thoughts, words, ideas, etc has been restricted due to a developmental handicap. Since that’s a bit long winded for casual conversation, we substitute the word “mental” for “intellectual capacity for processing thoughts, words, ideas, etc” and “retarded” for “restricted due to a developmental handicap.”

                There is no intent to insult if you use the phrase properly. “The man who was unfairly fired from Goodwill is mentally retarded.” Not an insult. It’s precisely objective and descriptive, the way language used to be before the PC police got a hold of it.

                However, if one were to walk up to a mentally retarded person and say, “Yo, retard, nice shirt!” that would be insulting, because it’s uncalled for and because my intent was to do harm.

                • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

                  My daughter is considered “mentally retarded” and I never find any insult in the actual word, unless someone directs it at my daughter or another handicapped person as a means to insult. (Such as “Look at the retards! Point and laugh!”) I don’t even care if someone says it, but don’t say shit like that to an individual who isn’t competant to fight back unless you want her crazy ass mother jumping your shit in the parking lot :)

          • erratapage says:

            I watched a thirty minute video made by cognitively disabled individuals who hate the “r” word. It was really clear to me that they knew it was an insult and their feeling were hurt. Have a five minute conversation with any of them about the topic, and you’ll discover that their cognitive impairments do not rob them of feelings or personalities.

            • pantheonoutcast says:

              “cognitively disabled”? Wow. I’ve never heard that one before.

              This country never fails to amaze me in coming up with new and inventive ways to hide the truth by perverting the language.

              The phrase “Cognitively Disabled,” for all intents and purposes, means precisely the same thing as “Mentally Retarded.”

              It would not surprise me that you use the term “People of Color” when talking about black people.

              • Bye says:

                Hey big guy. How’d you get to be so tough and knowledgeable?

                But I do agree – the term “cognitively disabled” may be a little too broad as it would also appear to describe people in your position as well.

          • NarcolepticGirl says:

            Yes. Both my Aunt and my friend Mikey know that when people call them “retards” that it’s insulting.

      • cecilsaxon says:

        Yp Rtrds d nt knw, fr xmpl hw t b rd r dmnng. Yh- th pr sls…

      • tbax929 says:

        I have been told the politically-correct term is Palin-American.

      • Dyscord says:

        “retard” is a bad word only if the intention to use it is hostile. I have a bunch of gay friends and we all refer to each other as homos and “fags”. Is anyone offended? No.

        People who constant think it’s a bad word aren’t helping. Is all about context

    • Chaosium says:

      “should it matter that the worker had Down syndrome? “

      Absolutely. It makes it harder for him to find gainful employment, and Goodwill gets tax credits for hiring him, while pretending that they support the differently abled (or whatever descriptor.)

    • sonneillon says:

      yes. ADA makes this dangerous if he gets a lawyer.

    • Dondegroovily says:

      Yes, it matters that he has Down’s, since Goodwill is a FUCKING CHARITY!!!!!!

      • common_sense84 says:

        No, it does not matter at all.

        All that matters is the mother made the purchase, and she does not work there. Firing the employee makes no sense he is not his mother.

        • nosense22 says:

          But then, why even have the policy? I mean if a worker sees something nice for cheap, they can immediately call a family member/ friend and buy the product. It’s no different than buying yourself.

          • SkittleKicks says:

            Well, it is different. Family members don’t get discounts. Goodwill makes the same amount of money from his mom buying the shirt as it does from a random customer buying the shirt.

      • Griking says:

        The fact that he had Downs had nothing to do with the the story and why he was fired though. It’s like saying that he was a also a plumber or a Mets fan.

        • Fair&Balanced says:

          It does because down syndrome is a disability and companies must have reasonable accomodation by law.

          How you define that reasonable accomodation is usually through the courts after lawsuits.

          Anyways the employee did not violate the policy so this is a wrongful termination and the employee would qualify for unemployement.

          • hosehead says:

            Right. It matters because it will be relevant in court. Wrongful termination of an employee with a disability? Have fun with that one.

        • OMAC says:

          You choose to be a plumber or a Mets fan. You don’t choose to have downs syndrome.

    • Megalomania says:

      If nothing else, it matters because people with Down Syndrome are fundamentally different from most people. You cannot treat a 30 year old with Down syndrome the same as a 30 year old without it. This is not some arbitrary distinction that goes against the notion that everyone is equal, it is a simple, unfortunate fact that some people are born like this and do not get to live the same lives as the rest of us.

      This would be unfortunate no matter who it happened to. The worker having down syndrome just makes the consequences on him and his family far worse and further out of proportion to what he was fired over.

    • The Marionette says:

      Considering the situation, not it doesn’t matter that he has down syndrome. If there was say a policy that employees aren’t allowed to eat during their shift unless they’re on their break and the employee repeatedly ate during their shift after being told a number of times not to (maybe because they mentally weren’t processing it) and they fired him then that would call for it being pointed out that he has down syndrome and was pretty much fired because of that. But what actually happened has nothing at all to do with his condition. He didn’t buy the shirt, so it wasn’t like he was told repeatedly that he’s not supposed to and kept doing so anyways. Although I feel bad that he did get fired because of that, fact is they just tacked that on the story to get more sympathy for him and hate against the company which honestly seems a bit disrespectful to him.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      it might matter legally if his mother was still his legal guardian. the article isn’t clear on that point, only saying that the employee lives semi-independently. but if she was his legal guardian, goodwill might consider her actions as being related to his in terms of policy.

    • runswithscissors says:

      It points to it being unlikely that the employee was trying to deliberately circumvent the policy or play the system. So does the mother’s conversation with the other sales clerk before the purchase, where she pointed out that the employee doesn’t care about purchasing clothes.

      Most important facts, however, are:

      1) They fired a 10 year employee for a 1st MAYBE breach of the policy, and from the other quotes from Goodwill management firing is not often the first course of action in these instances.

      2) The other employee told the mom that the policy did NOT apply to a relative of an employee.

      This was a boneheaded move, likely by one jerk of a manager, and now the corporation is covering up and backing the manager because a) management protect their own and b) covering the corporation’s ass.

      Best outcome? The former employee gets a better job elsewhere thanks to the media coverage, and then once thing quiet down Goodwill corporate fires that manager’s ass for making them look bad.

    • David in Brasil says:

      you bet your tookus it’s going to matter once his mother’s attorney gets this in front of a jury…

    • smo0 says:

      I usually bypass the “sensationalist” headlines, but I gotta admit – the first thing I thought when reading the article was that, yeah, how is this relevant?

      Unless there are some legal issues (not mentioned in this article) …….

      • myCatCracksMeUp says:

        I think it matters because it shows that it probably wasn’t the worker himself who wanted the shirt and who got his mother to buy it as a way around the rules. By identifying the worker as having Down’s Syndrome, we can be pretty sure that the mother bought the shirt without input from her son.

    • manus manum lavat says:

      Here’s why I think it might matter that he has Down’s Syndrome: When you hear about a bullshit firing (as in, “I can’t believe they fired someone for something so minor.”), 9 times out of 10, it means that management was searching for a reason to fire that person, and were happy to find that the employee had made some minor breach in policy so that they had a reason to.

      In other words, maybe management fired him because they didn’t want to have to deal with having an employee with Down’s Syndrome, and “he gives the perception of having broken a policy!” was just a lame excuse they came up with to accomplish that.

      • smo0 says:

        There would be other signs…. just from being in (more than one) an atmosphere where management was trying everything they could to get rid of an employee under “legal” reasons – they were pretty obvious about their dislike of said employee.
        One incident ended up being a running joke… various citations on an employee – they ended up catching him in an unavoidable situation in which people higher than management got involved and ended up terminating him.
        Things like this don’t go unnoticed… and downs or not – someone can usually tell when they are being harassed or mistreated… people make the mistake of acting a bit more “freely” around people with downs and other mental issues – they forget that, many times, they act like human tape recorders and can relay that information to any care givers, even if they, themselves, can’t really comprehend what’s going on.

      • Conformist138 says:

        That would make very little sense. Goodwill makes it a point to hire people with various disadvantages, this person could not have been the only “different” employee at that store.

      • coren says:

        That makes sense, but also assumes Downs was it. Maybe he didn’t fold clothes the way they liked or whatever minor infractions that other places will find an excuse to fire you over.

    • TheFingerOfGod says:


      “Another employee intervened and approved the sale after the employee’s mother explained both that she was a family member and not an employee, and that the employee with Down syndrome had no interest in buying clothes.”

      I believe it matters because IF I read correctly, the article seems to tie the fact that he has DOwns to the fact that he has no interest in clothes which means that even if it was he who purchased the clothes there was no intent to violate GW’s reason for not allowing employees to purchase while on duty. Given the fact that he was not even the person who purchased the clothes I am not sure what their beef is! Come on GW!!!!!!!!

      • eccsame says:

        Remember the episode of “Life Goes On” where Corky wanted to buy his dad a shirt and his wife, Amanda, said “No, Corky, that shirt’s too expensive” but Corky bought it anyway.
        Corky was very interested in clothes.

  2. biggeek says:

    Reminder: If you’re really concerned about public perception, don’t fire an employee with Down’s Syndrome over a three dollar shirt that he didn’t even purchase.

  3. superml says:

    …sounds more like the one employee that intervened is at fault here…

  4. dbeahn says:

    Fortunately, there are lots of other charities out there, so I don’t have to donate anything to an organization that would do something like this.

  5. MichaelRyanSD says:

    While I sympathize with the worker and situation and think it’s a little out of hand, I have to state the obvious here and say what does him having down syndrome have to do with anything? And if you think I am being insensitive here I volunteered for 3 years with a monthly weekend camp for people with mental/physical disabilities.

    I think whoever wrote this didn’t have a class on argumentation, basically what he/she is doing is called “Appealing to emotion” which is a fallacy and therefore doesn’t support the argument.

    Like I said, firing this guy was probably way over-reacting and I hope he gets the job back if he choose to, but him having down syndrome has nothing to do with any of this.

    The only way I could see it possibly making any sense is if he was living with such a severe case of it, that his cognitive ability wasn’t there to understand the rules. But I think since he had a job in the first place shows he was more the capable of understanding them. Like I said, I don’t think he broke any rules here…and should get his job back.

    • Griking says:

      I agree, the only reason to bring up the fact that he has Downs is to create sympathy for him.

      This story reminds me of the story about Target firing associates who were purchasing in demand items during the overnight shift even though there was a company bulletin saying that they weren’t allowed to.

      If you break the rules these things can happen, even if you’re disabled.

      • Megalomania says:

        You’re equating an employee directly violating the letter and spirit of a rule with someone who was decided to have violated the spirit (emphatically not the letter) of the law by proxy, despite that they are almost certainly incapable of putting such a plan together.

        The two are completely and absolutely different. If he had made an effort to buy the shirt himself and succeeded, or stolen the shirt, then your argument would have some validity, but as it stands, no, that is completely different.

    • incident_man says:

      Unfortunately, the fact that he has Down’s Syndrome has much to do with it. I don’t believe that the employee has many employment choices to start with because of the unwillingness of many employers to hire someone with such a handicap. To terminate such a person, despite the fact that he did nothing wrong, just underscores the callousness of the act. You make an argument against emotion, but being that we are after all human beings, emotion has to enter into the picture somewhere. It certainly is not a shortcoming or a trivial matter for a company to show a little compassion for a change, rather than just acting on what is legal or not, and they might end up buying themselves a bit of “goodwill” in the process.

    • balthisar says:

      The purpose of Goodwill is to give work to the handicapped. The fact that it’s a second-hand good store is secondary.

    • thatdarnedbob says:

      It has everything to do with it. I would argue that his superiors chose to fire for such a trivial non-offense BECAUSE he has Down’s Syndrome.

      • tundey says:

        Based on what evidence? Give me a break!

        • tdogg241 says:

          I used to work retail and we had a handicapped employee who worked two days a week from 9am to noon who helped with some of the routine cleaning tasks. He’d been working there longer than anyone else. After I’d been working there a few years, we got a new manager and he started the process of firing this guy for no other reason other than he didn’t like dealing with him. He tried using the bullshit excuse that we were “carving out a spot” for him (e.g. he was only employed at the store to clean, he wasn’t allowed to run the register or answer phones thus not performing all the duties that were expected of the position). It was only when I and my fellow assistant managers threatened to contact local news outlets that he backed off of firing the guy.

          I’m not saying that this is definitely what’s going on in this case, but these things do happen and it’s wrong when they do.

    • Dondegroovily says:

      Let me remind you of what Jon Stewart said about this kinda thing: “Be a fucking person.”

    • ARP says:

      The premise of the firing is that he was using his mom as some sort of “strawman” purchaser. Since he probably doesn’t understand what a strawman purchaser is, then how could he have consciously broken the rule/policy?

  6. dwrichards says:

    Yet Goodwill has no problem with the blatant theft of donated cell phones later found to have child pornography on it…

    • Mr. Pottersquash says:

      what was the blatant theft? Says an employee took it, that doesn’t mean he didn’t do it under proper channels.

    • coren says:

      Blatant theft? I don’t see that anywhere in the article. Took=/=stole.

    • dwrichards says:

      The original article that I read on this last month had the police report available. I cant find that specific article but the below article actually goes into a little more detail:

      From the article “A Goodwill employee later took the phone from the donation bin – against company rules – and gave it to his girlfriend without knowing about the images.”

      Where I live, taking a cellphone without permission then giving it to someone else is blatant theft.

      • coren says:

        Yeah, that’s a little different. It’s like you asked hey what’s 2 plus 2, then told me four was wrong, cuz it’s in base 3 not 10

  7. blinky says:

    Seems like the policy wasn’t violated as the employee didn’t buy the stuff.

    • Mr. Pottersquash says:

      depends on if the policy allows for strawmen to make purchases for employees, which I gotta assume it doesn’t.

    • ablestmage says:

      The Consumerist article doesn’t give the whole story. The actual article describes that employees aren’t allowed to “shop” (which doesn’t mean always mean “purchase something”) at the store on day’s they’re scheduled to work, and the guy and his mother were there on the day he was scheduled to work, before the shift started. Whether or not he was actually doing any shopping — although being with a party that is doing shopping, is at best, straining the boundaries of the rule. When your mother took you to the store to buy clothes for school, were you not also shopping, being along with the buyer, despite not wanting to try on clothes? I think Goodwill is within its grounds here.

  8. Norvy says:

    For an organization called Goodwill, they really know how to destroy it.

  9. brinks says:

    Retail stores usually do have a strict employee purchase policy. Is there any type of employee discount, as in a typical retail establishment? If the mom used the employee’s discount, Goodwill may have a case.

    However, after reading the linked article, I see no way in which Goodwill can be right. “The sales clerk at first refused to sell it to her because employees aren’t allowed to shop at the store on days they are working. But there’s no prohibition against family members shopping.” If that’s correct, Goodwill owes this man his job back.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      Or one hell of a nice settlement, like all the back pay until they find him a position in the store again or he finds another job.

  10. sheriadoc says:

    Looks like Goodwill was seeking a quick way to get rid of this guy, and probably expected him to not object. (Because of his condition, perhaps? So, yes, it might be quite relevant that he has Down’s if that factored into his “firing.”) He worked for them for 10 years, and they’re saying that because his mom bought him a $3 shirt he deserves to be fired? Maybe 10 days or 10 months, but 10 years? That’s a dedicated employee right there.

    • tundey says:

      Are you saying they’ve been looking to fire him for 10 years? Or they just got tired of him after 10 years? Either way, you have nothing to support your argument. Sure, they may have over-reacted in firing him but since when did over-reaction by corporations become news? They do it all the time.

  11. XianZomby says:

    The fact he has Down syndrome supports an argument that he wasn’t involved in the wrongdoing. For a person who is, for lack of a better term, “mentally fit,” it would be easier to build a case that he had plotted, schemed or even conceived of this nefarious plot.

  12. MamaBug says:

    If there is a policy saying that the family can’t buy, than yes, a policy was violated. If that isn’t the case, it’s wrongful firing. looks like they were trying to find a way to get rid of him.

  13. coren says:

    Here’s what I’m wondering – if they’re trying so hard to prevent the appearance of favoritism towards employees…why are they firing someone who (if they were actually buying the item) picked something out of the store and brought it to the register, just like, well, any other customer? I know this guy wasn’t actually buying, but if he were he’d have no advantage over any other customer.

    • roguemarvel says:

      Well if it was the day they were working you could argue that they have advanced knowledge of ‘the good stuff’ as they see it as soon as it comes in, which isn’t fair to your average buyer. So you make it so they can’t buy the day they work to give other people a chance to look and buy the item before them.

      • Anonymously says:

        True, but it only cost $3 which means it probably was crappy.

        • Syncop8d1 says:

          Not necessarily. I picked up a seemingly brand new pair of Columbia brand shorts for the same amount from the DAV thrift store a few years back and they’re among my fav. pair of shorts now. Sometimes you can find new or nearly new merchandise at 2nd hand stores. You definitely have to “buyer beware” to separate the wheat from the chaff.

  14. calchip says:

    Streisand effect in 3…2…1…

  15. orchdirector1 says:

    As an educator at a school that includes students with a variety of challenges, I am appalled. I have already written my strongly worded letter. Will you join me? is Mr. Nock’s email address. Intelligent, thoughtful letters will do more good than mean or mad.

  16. topgun says:

    For cryin’ out loud. It’s a $3 USED shirt. WTF!!!!!

  17. katia802 says:

    Before everyone starts screaming I won’t donate to GW anymore, please realise that every state’s goodwill is a separate entity operating under a corporate umbrella. If you don’t live in Iowa, please don’t punish your local goodwill for this one’s stupidity.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      thank you! i happen to really like my local goodwill [goodwill community foundation] and am fine with their policies. there are 4 separate goodwill entities in my state, semi governed by a statewide office.

    • Beef Supreme says:

      I chose to stop giving to my local Goodwill long ago, this sort of behavior just backs up the rudeness and lack of courtesy I experienced previously. Salvation Army FTW. They never complain when I bring stuff to drop off that might be heavy or a few minutes before closing time.

    • Anonymously says:

      Someone has to be in charge at a national level, and IMO, if they don’t step in and rectify the situation, it’s tantamount to endorsing this nation wide.

  18. Big Mama Pain says:

    This doesn’t even come close to the level of shady shit Goodwill practices.

  19. Terror Claws says:

    Goodwill’s attorney, said, “The policy is clear. The employer has the authority to terminate. . . . ” Goodwill spokeswoman Dana Engelbert said the shopping policy is strict because of a public perception “that Goodwill employees get all the good stuff.” But Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa is more flexible than its Heartland counterpart. Employees can’t buy things while on the clock, but they can before or after work.

    Oh yeah, that’s my PRIMARY concern is that somehow, the people who are being helped by Goodwill might accidentally get some cool stuff. Oh yeah, that has everything to do with why I donate to them and shop there. Give me a break. They ought to let them cherry pick the good stuff. It’d be one of the few perks.

  20. outlulz says:

    As a former employee of Goodwill I can say that this shit isn’t uncommon. Most stores ban employees, family of employees, and friends of employees from shopping at the store. If they suspect a customer is in some way related to you, they will fire you on the spot. Their managers are also shady and cut costs on critical supplies in order to keep their store profitable. For weeks my store would go without hand soap, paper towels, bags for merchandise, and sometimes toilet paper because the manager didn’t want to spend the money to order some from the main plant.

    • backinpgh says:

      Jesus…what is UP with this place???

      • SkittleKicks says:

        That depends on where it is you’re working. The Goodwill where my husband worked didn’t forbid friends or family shopping along with you. If my husband saw something interesting, he was well within his rights to call me on his lunch and ask if I could come in and purchase it. The rules stated that all items had to be sold from “the floor” so that it couldn’t be snuck from the back to a friend or family member. I got no discounts, no abilities to see anything special – so to Goodwill, there was no difference between me and the next customer.

    • LastError says:

      That’s ridiculous. It’s not like Goodwill has to PAY for the merchandise they sell. They should be able to afford toilet paper out of the 100% profit they make on every sale. Walmart and the others manage to operate just fine with single-digit profit margins.

  21. Cyniconvention says:

    What I wanted to say has already been said, but I just wanted to comment on the tag “bad will”–that was funny.

  22. wolf3345us says:

    How about posting that presidents email address for a little hate mail?

    • Chumas says:

      Done and done.

      # Human Resources
      1441 Blairs Ferry Road NE
      Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
      Fax: (319)393-8935

      # Jeff Nock – President
      Goodwill of the Heartland
      1410 South First Ave.
      Iowa City, IA 52240
      Phone: (319) 337-4158 Ext. 101
      Fax: (319) 337-7369

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        “Goodwill of the Heartland”

        Given the circumstances, I challenge you invent a more incongruous name.

        • grumpskeez says:

          I’m not sure that I’m ok with your Inflection of “Goodwill of the Heartland” in that post. I think I’m offended

  23. Megladon says:

    Lets not make this about a worker with down syndrome, as its more a worker being fired for what his mom did. Never once did it appear that the disability was the reason for the firing.

  24. Crutnacker says:

    Our local Goodwill dropoffs are staffed by some of the nastiest (in demeanor) people I’ve ever met at a charitable organization. After my last experience I decided to find another place to leave my stuff, one that seems to recognize it’s charitable duties first.

  25. MustardTiger says:

    I had an employee that worked for Goodwill look at what I was purchasing and say “Wow. That is overpriced.” and sold me a gown for $5. She worked there for nearly 3 years, cutting awesome deals for many people..without getting fired.
    I’m posting this in hopes someone from Goodwill may stumble upon the article/comments and get butt-hurt.
    Worry about the people stealing or “making deals” if anything… and not some innocent dude with a thrifty mom.

  26. SpamMeNot says:

    I just don’t get it. So Goodwill will fire you if a family member buys something from Goodwill that she intends to give to you? If the purpose of the policy is to deter employees from setting things aside for themselves, then when that is not the case, why is an employee still fired under the policy?

    Also, if one of the traits of his Down syndrome is that he refuses to buy clothing for himself, then the fact that he has Down syndrome seems incredibly relevant as it further shows he wasn’t “trying to get the good stuff” for himself through a purchase by his mother.

  27. italianbaby says:

    the email address to the prez of this organization: time to email this person and let him know this is not right!!
    (i copied and pasted this from someone who posted this information in the comment section of the lancaster eagle gazette.
    i’m a bit miffed, cause the kid didn’t by the shirt. his mother did. (she’s not considered an employee.
    anyhow if it bugs you then write to this dim wit about how you feel about this person being fired…

  28. Kibit says:

    “it makes no sense to fire a worker with Down syndrome for violating a policy that doesn’t appear to have been violated.”

    It makes no since to fire any employee for violating a policy that doesn’t appear to have been violated

  29. Destron says:

    Wow that’s terrible. When I used to work for Walmart they had a policy that associates could not buy clearance items for 24 hours, but unless you personally took the markdown anybody you know or was related to was OK to buy the items.

    Again, the only exception to this rule was if you personally marked down the merchandise, so if my buddy marked something down to a great price his family could not come buy it, but mine could, unless it was a home office markdown, then it did not matter because the case could not be made that he marked it down just for someone he knows to come buy it.

    The only other restrictions are that you can’t be on the clock, and the merchandise must be on the sales floor.

    I can’t believe that their policies could be so strict that they don’t allow a family member to shop there, that’s insane. I would want to see that policy myself.

    However on the flip side, it said above that they have 4 levels of disciplinary action and nobody is fired on a first violation, so we don’t really know the whole issue here. Again, going back to my days at Walmart I supervised several mentally challenged people and every one of them had strait up ass holes for parents that were always butting in, always involved, and always causing problems, usually demanding more that we could do and thinking we should go out of our way and do more for them than we would a non-disabled person. So we don’t know that his mom was not this kind of parent, and hell she may have even been making trouble for her son and making him a target.

  30. FrankReality says:

    I wish a hot-shot attorney would take his case pro-bono.

    It would be so easy to resolve if they just gave him his job back and apologized for misunderstanding the situation.

    Goodwill seriously shot themselves in the foot with this one – the public backlash alone will cost them far more than the $3 shirt. There are potential Federal and state civil rights and ADA violations here.

    With this kind of management, it makes one wonder about how well the other GW employees are respected and treated – I’m guessing quite badly.

    I think if Mr. Nock wants to keep his job, he had best settle this very fast. Meanwhile, redirect those donations from Goodwill to the Salvation Army.

  31. Levk says:

    ummm… the mother got the shirt, ok, yea i guess the mother is owned a few paychecks then since according to there policy she is an employee there.

  32. paullorange says:

    It’s ok to me if you are working at Goodwill and get the ‘good stuff’. We all get benefits at work, so why should Goodwill be any different.

  33. sopmodm14 says:

    ok, i can understand if employees cannot make purchases on the clock, but family members cant ? even though they’re supporting the charity ?

    good grief

  34. ap0 says:

    I had no idea that there may even be favoritism. I mean, if you work there, then it should be a perk of the job.

  35. devilsadvocate says:

    I don’t think we have the whole story here. But assuming what they write is true, then wouldn’t that mean thatthe employee has violated the policy previously at least once? And isn’t it an employers right to fire an employee for even a single violation, even if that violation was a past violation that they had previously just ‘written him up’ for?

  36. ldavis480 says:

    Sounds like this business are run by a bunch of dickheads. Can you say Salvation Army?

  37. Mknzybsofh says:

    This employee earned $11 per hour sorting donated items for Goodwill Industries of the Heartland. But to Dustin Sieren, 30, that job was as meaningful as a White House appointment.

    I’ll bet that they fired him because they did not want to continue paying him $11 an hour anymore. I’ll also bet they hired someone who was willing to work for minimum wage doing the same job.

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      You are correct, sir/madam. As soon as I read about this guy being paid $11/hour (despite working there 10 years, which is sad as to why he’s not getting more), whoever is running this Goodwill was going on a witch-hunt to fire his ass to replace him for someone who’d take the job for minimum wage. This despite there are likely incentives from state/federal governments to hire someone with disabilities. Regardless of that, this was extremely shallow, especially from a charitable organization such as Goodwill. Yes, I understand they operate locally, but couldn’t the head of the organization step in on this one? This will definitely bite them in the long run.

  38. suez says:

    So much for “goodwill.” This is a complete overreaction and any reasonable person would see that the policy wasn’t violated. Plus, if they’re really concerned about their public image, this is clearly the WRONG way to improve it.

  39. sqeelar says:

    Down-sizing? A most sad story all around. They could have waited until Breitbart exposed Goodwill in a new Pimp and Ho scandal.

  40. radio1 says:

    The ‘retards’ are the Goodwill bosses.

    Let’s say, that this Mom totally abused GW by buying stuff while her son was at work. They should ban HER from the store, not fire HIM.

    Many mentally challenged people (Down’s, ‘retarded’ or whatever) place a high value on the work that they do. To them, it means freedom and competency at something. It literally is therapy for these people. You can’t take that away.

  41. Chumas says:

    # Human Resources
    1441 Blairs Ferry Road NE
    Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
    Fax: (319)393-8935

    # Jeff Nock – President
    Goodwill of the Heartland
    1410 South First Ave.
    Iowa City, IA 52240
    Phone: (319) 337-4158 Ext. 101
    Fax: (319) 337-7369

    Lets allow Mr. Nock the privilage of hearing how we think of him and his organization. Remember now, be moderate with your language. Let’s not turn this into a /b/ riot.

  42. TheBecoming says:

    I know several people who use to work at GoodWill. It’s a messed up place and definitely not what they make themselves out to be. At least the ones here in NW Ohio. GoodWill serves one purpose only, to help people get jobs by either employing them or training them. That’s it. They are not a garage sale, they are not a flea market. They are a business. The donations are just a way to aid in training or giving people jobs. They are not a charity.

    Each region has its own policies and are run by different presidents. So around here GoodWill does have a policy that employees AND their family members can’t shop on days that employee works at that store. It’s because of situations like this, employee sees some thing they want so they call their mom, boyfriend, brother, or who ever to come over and buy the item. Which can and has lead to the employee hiding the item (which is against policy) or selling the item at a discounted rate which is also against policy (unless the employee buys it on their day off).
    Its a stupid blanket policy that can get people fired because they have no control over what other people do.

    But some thing in this story doesn’t add up. Either the guy tried buying the shirt with his mom’s money to get his discount or the GoodWill of the Heartland is lying about their policy and their policy is similar or the same as the one here in Ohio.

    Either way, I really hope this opens up a can of worms for GoodWill. After hearing the stories and seeing a lot of the BS that went on at GoodWill I will never donate to them or support any thing they are involved with. They are definitely not the clean, do good company they make themselves out to be.

  43. kobresia says:

    They…fired Corky?

  44. profmonster says:

    wow, that is low class.

  45. JuanHunt says:

    I likes lawyer-speak:

    “The policy is clear. The employer has the authority to terminate. . . . ” Mark Zaiger, Goodwill’s attorney, said.

    Which is true, but not applicable since an adult and his mother are usually two separate individuals according to the law. I say, they wanted to fire the guy but had no cause, so they made up a cause. The jury will give him 3Xdamages severance package, or 30 years of paychecks. Then, he can buy his clothes at Macy’s, not some second-rate, second-hand dump.

  46. ShreeThunderbird says:

    Apparently no one at Goodwill has ever read “Les Miserables”.

  47. Sarcastico says:

    Sounds like the worker had no interest in getting the shirt for himself personally but his mother, a non-employee, did. I don’t see how the employee benefited from favoritism. Since the sales clerk initially refused to make the sale but then was overruled by another employee, presumably someone with more authority, doesn’t seem as though anything underhanded was going on. The employee was clearly punished for something someone else [his mother] did. They need to give him his job back.

  48. Sarcastico says:

    I believe the story also said the mother was there making donations. What a way to treat your donors.

  49. salvadorlourdes says:

    The sort of thing I read in this article about the firing of a thirty-year-old employee with Down syndrome after his mother bought him a $3 shirt at Goodwill in Washington Iowa is appalling.

    I realize that a policy disallows employees from buying things on their work days, but the mother was not an employee and it seems extreme to ban family members who are not employees from shopping. Firing on a first offense is drastic. An offense of such a minor nature should result in a warning and return of the shirt, followed by a written warning if it happened again. Firing should only happen if those disciplinary actions were not heeded.

    I’ve always assumed the employees get first shot at the good stuff at thrift stores and I don’t care. It never stopped me from shopping. Actually, they can take just so much stuff before they don’t need anything anymore. Plus, workers with these kinds of disabilities could use these things more than the rest of us anyway. I could understand if it was a sofa or something, but a $3 shirt?

    Actions like this termination do stop me from shopping. I can not support an organization which treats it’s employees so poorly.

  50. baristabrawl says:

    Nice, Goodwill. Real, nice. How do you fire an employee with Down’s Syndrome?

  51. baristabrawl says:

    This just seems wrong. Mostly because I keep wanting to call their policy “retarded,” but that seems so wrong that even I can’t do it.

    I don’t even know where to start…yes, it matters that the employee had Down’s. Have you ever seen an employee at McDonald’s with Down’s Syndrome working the fryers? No. They are given jobs where they don’t hurt themselves and that are easily understood. If you have an employee with Down’s Syndrome, you know that you treat them with kid gloves and you don’t fire them for a stupid policy like that.

    Honestly, Goodwill…I’ve never been a fan of yours, anyway. Now I’m even less of one.

  52. SEIowaRes says:

    Target, Kmart and WalMart employees can shop whenever they aren’t actively on the clock. Their qualifying family members can shop and get the employee’s discount even when the employee is working. I can understand if Dustin was shopping during work or had stashed a shirt to purchase later. However it sounds like this shirt was on the rack and not hidden in any way. The mother lives in Mt. Pleasant which is over 30 minutes from Dustin’s workplace and is not an employee of the company.

    It seems to me that it sounds like management had more of an issue with Dustin than just the purchase of a shirt. They used this as a (lame) excuse to terminate him from his job. Maybe it was because he was a 10-year employee with a higher wage than Goodwill wished to continue to pay. Maybe it was just an issue of management having a dislike for the guy or that he was showing a particular like for someone else on the staff that made them uncomfortable. What ever way you slice it, the evidence seems suspicious that he was fired over a trivial issue when he wasn’t the one who was actually responsible for the purchase to begin with.

    I personally hope that Goodwill is taken through the legal mill of defending their questionable process of firing this man. Furthermore, I hope they lose their “shirts” over the process of litigation.

    I’m happy to say that I donate all of my needed items to the local crisis shelters and do not take anything to Goodwill or Salvation Army in my town.

  53. Mihkel says:

    The one who fired the worker with a Down syndrome is either an asshole or an asshole. No choice there fella.

  54. OMG_BECKY says:

    Hey, the rules are the rules!

  55. trey says:

    goodbye goodwill. i will NEVER give to a company that treats its employees in this manner.

  56. Froggmann says:

    This is why I donate to the Salvation Army. Goodwill has a history of dick moves with my family starting in the 40’s when they refused to help my grandparents at all because my grandmother was a German war bride. Randomly taking stuff from my parent’s property in the 70’s and 80’s and now this.

  57. mouseyhair says:

    Goodwill gets horrible ratings by employees on I wonder why.

  58. HammRadio says:

    Stupid hipster employees hoarding all the ironic t-shirts from the 1980s ruin goodwill for everyone

  59. Hilltopper says:

    Reply I just received from Jeff Nock President of Goodwill of the Heartland:

    Dear [ redacted by me ],

    Thank you for contacting me to share your feelings regarding the Goodwill employee about whom you have recently read in the media. I do understand your feelings and we are looking into the situation. In the meantime, I also value and respect the privacy rights of this gentleman and therefore cannot comment on the situation. I do want you to know that Goodwill lives its mission everyday. We provide the clients we serve with employment opportunities within our organization and throughout the communities we serve. We also clearly and frequently communicate with our employees the workplace rules and culture by which we work to fulfill our mission. We believe in a reasonable, thorough, and thoughtful process for reviewing employee actions. We gather information from available sources and review that information at various levels within the organization before a decision is made.

    Goodwill shares your passion for serving people facing barriers to employment. Thank you again for contacting me.


    Jeff Nock

    • mopar_man says:

      Sounds like he’s whipped up a canned reply.

      Hopefully something comes of this and Dustin gets his job back. I know I won’t be donating or buying from Goodwill anytime soon.

    • orchdirector1 says:

      Received the same canned response this morning.

  60. mommyof3 says:

    Ha, they are worried that the public will think that the employees get the good stuff, well let me tell ya, Goodwill takes the good stuff and auctions it off on their web site, not letting it get to the everyday goodwill shoppers, but to the people who can afford to bid hundreds on a handbag or coat. So, my question is this, was it a gucci shirt or a walmart handme down for $3…C’mon goodwill, Were you really just cutting costs by firing a clothing sorter who made $11/hr so you could hire another and pay them 6.25/hr…profits profits profits. I think the fact that he was disabled just made it easier for them to fire him (as per their thinking) than to fire the cashier who finalized the sale or the person who approved it, since they probably werent disabled employees, I assume that since they were handling money and were decision makers in the company. Just my random thoughts…