Safeway Prevails at Jury Trial on Ex-Employee’s 10-Count Suit

A Portland, Oregon jury on Monday, February 12 returned a defense verdict in favor of Safeway on 10 employment claims consisting of alleged discrimination, harassment, retaliation and protected leave interference under federal and Oregon law. 

Plaintiff Tiffany Goldsby, a former Safeway employee, alleged in her lawsuit that between November 2014 and January 2015, her hours were reduced, she was denied an internal transfer to another store, and she was issued discipline for unlawful reasons. 

Goldsby also claimed that her former store director harassed her on the basis of her race, gender and sexual orientation.

Although Goldsby requested and was granted two medical leaves in 2014 and 2015, she also asserted that Safeway interfered with her leave rights and retaliated against her for exercising those rights.

But following a five-day trial in federal court, a jury unanimously found in favor of Safeway on all claims. 

“Safeway was wrongfully accused of illegal and inappropriate conduct in violation of Ms. Goldsby’s civil rights. This unanimous jury verdict vindicates Safeway and its managers, who treated Ms. Goldsby fairly in accordance with both Company policy and applicable law,” said Safeway’s lead trial counsel, David Hosenpud of Lane Powell PC.

Safeway presented evidence at trial that Goldsby’s hours were legitimately reduced during the time in question because she voluntarily limited her availability to accommodate her employment elsewhere. Safeway had no choice but to reduce her hours given her limited availability, her seniority and business needs. In fact, the evidence showed that when Goldsby opened her availability, Safeway increased her hours consistent with the hours she received before restricting her schedule.

Safeway also demonstrated at trial that the Company denied Goldsby’s request to transfer to another Safeway store because starting in November 2014, all Safeway stores in her district were placed on a temporary transfer freeze pending the imminent divestment of numerous stores in the region.

The evidence at trial also revealed that Goldsby — as well as other employees at her store — were legitimately issued discipline for violating Safeway’s attendance policy. Goldsby was issued discipline after she missed more than 36 scheduled hours in a three-week period.

Finally, Safeway established that the plaintiff was neither harassed nor raised any complaints of discrimination or harassment despite having access to Safeway’s Human Resources Department. Safeway also presented evidence from employees who were similarly situated to Goldsby, who testified that Goldsby’s store director — who was accused of harassment — treated them with dignity and respect.

Safeway was represented by David Hosenpud and Will Weiner of Lane Powell PC.

The case is Tiffany Goldsby v. Safeway, number 3:16-cv-02056-HZ, in the U.S. District Court of Oregon.


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