An Administrative Law Judge has ruled in favor of former New Seasons employee Ryan Gaughan, who was fired from the Seven Corners branch in early February after allegedly stealing food from the store's deli, deeming his firing baseless. Judge Marni Davis came to the conclusion that New Seasons management was unable to prove that Gaughan was involved in employee misconduct, meaning he will now receive unemployment—but not rehiring, an action Gaughan's supporters, New Seasons Market Workers Voice (NSMWV), are demanding.
Davis' summarized, albeit cloudy, decision: "The employer discharged claimant because he consumed the employer’s product without paying for it. While claimant may not have met the employer’s expectations, the employer failed to establish how claimant should have known that his conduct would not be acceptable to the employer... Claimant showed all the food he planned on purchasing to the cashier and he paid the amount the cashier told him. Claimant testified that sometimes the cashier would charge him for everything on his plate..."
Long and short of it, the cashier intentionally didn't ring up Gaughan's food, taking the blame off of him—at least in Davis' eyes.
While this is a step in the right direction, NSMWV is still petitioning for Gaughan's rehiring at the Seven Corners store. The group says that the ruling even further convinces them that the firing was more than meets the eye. They see it as a move to silence Gaughan and others' advocacy for better working conditions at the branch. "Ryan’s termination was a deliberate attempt to silence our voice, and to intimidate our fellow workers," reads a section of a recent statement from the group. The groups vows to push for his rehiring until its request is met.