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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