California Goodwill Sued for Worker Death, Retaliation Accusations

Workplace injuries don’t just happen in Houston. A Goodwill Industries facility in California faces lawsuits and fines after a worker was killed and another complained of retaliation. Numerous workplace safety investigations have dogged the facilities.

Young Father Killed

Goodwill Industries of Sacramento Valley and Northern Nevada is one of thirteen independent Goodwill operations in California. The Sacramento Bee reports that in September of 2016 Abraham Nicholas Garza was killed trying to align a heavy bin with a compactor. An employee assisting him, Dave Goudie, had frequently complained to Goodwill officials of unsafe working conditions at the Franklin Boulevard plant where the accident occurred.

The Bee reports that “Goodwill fired Goudie last year and has publicly blamed him for ‘negligence’ in the fatal accident, even though Cal-OSHA issued the nonprofit a record breaking fine”, which was $106,675. Goodwill is appealing the fine.

A “Diabolical Smear Campaign”

After the accident, Goudie was initially put on paid administrative leave in order to cope with his grief from the accident. Later, Goodwill fired him, claiming he had violated safety procedures. Goudie claims there hardly were any safety procedures, and that the firing was retaliation for speaking up.

“The days of the Goodwill Industries in Sacramento thinking they can get away with throwing their employees into harm’s way and getting away with it are over,” Goudie told The Bee, referring to his ordeal as a “diabolical smear campaign.”

In recent months, Cal-OSHA has opened three new investigations of complaints against three separate Sacramento Goodwill facilities. A spokesperson for Goodwill says these complaints are for small problems, some of which have already been remedied.

Tragedy in an Unlikely Setting

In this news story, a similar situation occurred, as a man helping to steer the placement of a trash bin was crushed by it. It underscores that worker safety cannot be overlooked even in settings not typically considered dangerous.

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Houston’s Workplace Injury Attorneys

With so many petroleum, chemical and industrial facilities around Houston, inevitably some of these workplaces “slip under the radar” and fail to take necessary steps to ensure their workers’ safety. As we see in the Goodwill case, serious and catastrophic injury can happen in workplace settings most wouldn’t expect to be hazardous. If anything could make that situation worse, it would be for a conscientious worker speaking up for safety concerns to be retaliated against by the employer.

The Callahan Law Firm has the experience, knowledge and skill needed to successfully represent individuals seriously injured and surviving family members in workplace accident cases. We handle injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid when you make a recovery.

Schedule a free case evaluation today.