This is one of an occasional post from Margaret Epperheimer, an eight-year member of Next Door’s Board of Directors.
When I wrote about Safeway meat clerk Ryan Young earlier this week, I got passionate reactions from a number of thoughtful people. Young was suspended from his job without pay when he intervened when he saw a customer pushing and kicking his pregnant girlfriend. Good news: after more than a month without his job, Safeway has reinstated Young with back pay. It took a while (too long), but Safeway has done the right thing.
Safeway got a lot of pressure from Young’s union, which had challenged the suspension immediately. Young appeared on national TV, people began boycotting and picketing outside the Del Rey Oaks (Monterey County) store, and the incident went viral. According to an Associated Press report, more than 180,000 people signed an online petition expressing outrage at Safeway’s actions on Change.org, a website that allows people to engage in social advocacy.
As for the abuser in this case, he apparently pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery and was sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to attend a 52-week domestic violence class.
Reinstating the employee who took the risk to get involved and stop violence is not enough. Safeway needs to make that generous monetary contribution to the agencies that provide shelter and support to domestic violence victims. Further, it needs to show leadership by instituting an employee education program about domestic violence, demonstrating with its care and clout that corporations CAN make a difference in the crusade to stamp out domestic violence “in the moment and for all time,” taking a cue from Next Door’s own mission statement. Safeway can make a difference and so can you.