Last week we told you about the California Safeway employee who had been suspended after intervening in a fight between a man and his pregnant girlfriend. Now there’s some good news to report, as the grocery store chain has given the employee his job back, along with pay for the weeks during which he was suspended.
The man had been suspended for a month following the incident, in which the employee — who worked at the store’s meat counter — stopped a customer from kicking his six-month pregnant girlfriend.
But the United Food and Commercial Workers union had filed a grievance on the employee’s behalf and now tells the AP that the suspension has been lifted.
“While Safeway has legitimate policies and concerns around workplace violence and the appropriate employee response, once the company heard our presentation of the case including Ryan’s explanation of the incident, management realized that the suspension was not appropriate and immediately worked with us to resolve the grievance and put Ryan back to work,” a union rep explains.
More than 180,000 people signed a petition to have Safeway reinstate the employee.
“Knowing that I had all these people standing behind me and that I wasn’t alone really helped me through this difficult time,” said the man following the announcement. “I’ll be returning to work soon and I’m ready to move forward.”
Safeway had suspended the man because store policy says no one except security personnel are supposed to involve themselves physically in customer altercations. However, the employee says he acted on instinct when he came to the pregnant woman’s rescue.
Even the local police chief defended the Safeway worker at the time of his suspension, saying, “We understand about policy, but at some point someone has to do something. And in my mind, in this case Ryan did the right thing.”
Safeway clerk who defended woman reinstated [SFgate.com]