Safeway Reinstates Worker Who Defended Pregnant Customer

Ryan Young Safeway jobSafeway has reinstated a clerk who was suspended without pay after he defended a pregnant woman last month in the grocery chain's Del Ray Oaks, Calif., market.

Safeway gave Ryan Young, a meat clerk, his job back, along with back pay and benefits. He will join the staff at a different Safeway store that's no farther from his home in Marina, Calif., according to the San Jose Mercury News. Young's story sparked a national outcry and motivated 180,000 people to sign a petition calling for his reinstatement. Upon hearing Safeway's decision, Young credited the public's support.

"Knowing that I had all these people standing behind me and that I wasn't alone really helped me through this difficult time," he was quoted as saying by a news release from, which organized the petition.

On April 21, Young was at work when he saw a male customer, Quyen Van Tran, hitting a pregnant woman -- Tran's girlfriend. Young intervened and reportedly struck Tran, who was subsequently arrested. (Tran, who pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge in the incident, has since been sentenced to three years probation.) Despite what Young says were assurances that his job was not at risk, Safeway notified Young that he was suspended without pay, pending the results of its investigation.

After the petition, along with protests in front of the market, representatives from Young's union, UFCW Local 5, met Tuesday with Safeway officials to discuss his case.

"They have policies on workplace violence and what employees are expected to do," Ron Lind, the president of the the union chapter, said. "Safeway agreed with us that a suspension wasn't warranted."

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I live just North of Houston ,Texas ,in the next county.We have a chain here, Randall's. Randall's is owned by Safeway.One of the highest places around.I know people that work there,that don't shop there,because it is to expensive,Since they were bought out by Safeway,it has just gone down hill.

June 17 2013 at 11:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

To Cher:

Don't believe you are the famous Cher. But I am glad to see you are taking a stand on these types of issues. Here in Chicagoland we have a local chain called Dominick's which is actually owned by Safeway. It would be delightful if we could get laws passed that would legally allow employees who feel they have been fired unfairly to obtain some recourse through independent arbitration. But so far it doesn't seem to be a priority for some reason. Maybe this case will be the wake-up call which is so sorely needed. I recently release a book titled JUDAS TIMES SEVEN, published by AuthorHouse, which is a story of greed, betrayal and jealousy in which an employee is plotted against after developing an attraction for a co-worker. The story ends with him being hunt out to dry, illustrating the futility in trying to fight back against such treatment. I hope you will check it out as I feel it should be a "must read" for anyone concerned with restoring a sense of fairness to the workplace, where innocent until proven guilty does not apply. I do feel that at least part of the problem can be laid at the feet of the legal community which has stretched its boundaries too far.

June 02 2012 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I hope they asked him first which store he wanted to return to work at. Maybe he liked the location he was in; maybe he had built up a home base there for himself. I am glad he got his job back if that is ok with him, but I will never shop in a Safeway. You don't get a second chance from me on crap like this. Had they suspended him "with pay" while they investigated, I would understand. But they did not. Safeway is OUT for me.

May 31 2012 at 6:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The company has procedures it needs to follow. The employee gets suspended, they do their investigation and he was reinstated and moved to another store. His union probably suggested that he file a grievance too. It doesn't seem fair, but the company works with the union in a lot of cases.

May 30 2012 at 9:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

To ALL the Ryan Young's of the world. I was a battered woman for 4 1/2 years until I was able to get me and my 9 month old baby out. That was November 1985. Thank all of you so much for doing what this Ryan did. It is such a beautiful selfless act of courage! I am so very grateful to have men like that around. These are REAL men. Not one of these whiny all talk no action male who talks big and never acts on the talk when given the opportunity. Ryan Young, you sir are one in a million! I'd like to know why the mayor or chief of police of your town have stepped up and given you an award for valor and bravery. I don't know, a plaque, certificate, or a medal or something for being so brave. I hope you know that in the very least you kept that woman from being hurt any worse, but I have no doubt in my mind that you saved her baby's life! You need to be rewarded with something besides just getting your job back. I know you're satisfied with that, but come on! You really deserve it!

May 27 2012 at 7:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I read that Safeway fired the store manager. Anybody know if that's true? In any event, Safeway truly did not think this through. Hmmmm....if he hadn't intervened what are the odds that the lady might have been permanently injured, or worse yet, mortally injured. Then what would Safeway have done? Well, for starters they probably would have been sued, the bad publicity would have been unreal (even more so than this) and who knows...maybe a huge boycott would have ensued. And I find it interesting that they reinstated Ryan, but moved him to a different store. That I really don't understand.

May 26 2012 at 10:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to bagthepi's comment

The reinstatement to a different store was probably at the very least requested by the young man and his union rep and I suspect readily agreed to by Safeway officials to avoid any potential backlash or any other problems either from other employees of the old store or any customers from the old store. It sounds really crazy, but the kind of thing really does happen. An ounce of prevention is still worth more than a pound of cure!

May 27 2012 at 7:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Probably did. Losing big bucks with all those protesters out front. I wouldn't have broken their line, even if i didn't know what was going on. I'd have gone to another store.

April 24 2013 at 3:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Safeway management has their collective heads stuck firmly in the sand. Strict, inflexible policies always turn around and bite the ones who created them.

Safeway probably won't change their policy and only caved in when the police, the news, their customers and the public at large came down on them.

Let's see what happens next time someone gets assaulted and an employee renders aid.

May 26 2012 at 2:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to janickols's comment

What needs to happen to avoid these types of issues in the future would be a system by which such employees, if not involved with a union, could legally obtain some recourse through independent arbitration. And yes, there is one thing in this that employers could like, and that is that it could even reduce the need for unions. Yet so far we have refused to treat any kind of real workplace reform as a priority. This needs to change, IMO.

June 02 2012 at 3:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I will always respect you, Sir.

May 24 2012 at 11:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'll bet women will flock to the store he is assigned to. i would have had no problem as a customer smacking a man hitting a woman in public. Send the SOB back to his native land because he is not teh kind of citizen we want coming here. as for Young if i ever see him I'll be the first to shake his hand and thank him for doing the right thing. He protects his customers and i hope his parents and friends are proud of him. should have been 180,000,000 on that petition. Next time get the petition to save a hero's job out on AOl, twitter, facebook and everywhere. Put a million names on in a day. Again, thank you Mr. Young for being an all American citizen doing the right thing.

May 24 2012 at 7:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Janet Rockett

Real men are men that beat up the punks that hit women....

May 24 2012 at 6:55 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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