I recently left Goodwill Industries in Oregon City.
I worked there for almost three years in the warehouse as a donation attendant. Hired with the understanding that I am disabled and have special needs, I provided my new store manager with a list of a few things from doctors, which are needed to be able to work. They were used against me.
Goodwill's mission is to provide vocation options for people with barriers to employment, like myself. I experienced harassment, bullying from managers, hostility and discrimination from management and headquarters.
I was left alone at a donation door for up to five hours at a time. I asked my manager repeatedly to get me help, because I was trying to do a four-man job by myself. Piles of donations over 12-feet high made any employee have to literally crawl to the door to receive donations. Most stores have three to five people, because that's what it takes to be in so many places at once, as the donations flood the sidewalks and the warehouse.
I spoke with two managers about my disabilities, and how it was crucial that I needed help, as to not trigger seizure activity. They intentionally continued to place me into such situations.
I reported the store to HQ (Leo Schaeffer), who has not responded, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the fire department, which made the manager's mission to force me to quit even more swift.
With my final attempt at asking the manager for help for my safety, his reply was, "Get it done." I told him that what he was asking for is impossible, and that I would have to put in my two-weeks notice. He tossed a yellow ledger and pen at me and said, "Sign it, get out." He also followed me outside and did the same thing, with the same remarks, in front of my co-workers.
Over the next two weeks, I was left completely alone, not able to have breaks for the restroom, or a 15-minute break because there was no coverage or people were too busy.
Goodwill hires people with special needs every day, and they are being abused and exploited. The next time you walk into a Goodwill store, look around you. Pay attention to the employees, the supervisors and think twice about the places you want to give your donations to. The CEO is the highest paid person in Oregon, at the price of others.
Rob Mills is a resident of the Gaffney Lane
neighborhood in Oregon City.
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