HUNTINGTON – A Huntington man is suing Goodwill Industries of KYOWVA Area Inc. after he claims he was injured multiple times because the store was unsafe.
Willard E. Bays was employed by Goodwill from Dec. 17, 2014, until Nov. 7, 2015, according to a complaint filed in Cabell Circuit Court.
Bays claims during his employment, the staff at the Barboursville Goodwill store was reduced from approximately 22 to 10 or 11 individuals due to budget cuts.
After the reduction in staff, the volume of donations increased and, as a result, the donations were not processed in a timely manner, according to the suit.
Bays claims because of the reduced staff and donated items not being processed in a timely manner, Goodwill’s Barboursville store became very cluttered, with items stacked up on top of each other and narrow, obstructed walkways between the items.
The storage, processing and retail areas at the store had items stacked to the point that it created an unsafe working environment and constituted a hazard to Goodwill’s employees, including Bays, according to the suit.
Bays claims the manner in which items were stored also prevented the existence of a continuous and unobstructed path of exit travel for employees.
On Aug. 29, 2015, Bays was injured on the job as a result of the unsafe working condition maintained by Goodwill and his claim for workers’ compensation benefits was approved, according to the suit.
Bays claims he complained to Goodwill about the hazardous and unsafe conditions and no corrective action was taken.
On Oct. 10, 2015, Bays was against injured on the job as a result of the hazardous and unsafe working conditions maintained by Goodwill and the workers’ compensation benefits claim was approved, according to the suit.
Bays claims no corrective action was taken again and management continued to permit the hazardous and unsafe working conditions to continue in retaliation for him having filed workers’ compensation claims.
The plaintiff almost became injured on Nov. 7, 2015, and, because of his previous injuries and the state of the Goodwill store, he was forced to resign from his employment to avoid further injuries or death, according to the suit.
Bays is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Kathy A> Brown of Kathy Brown Law PLLC; and Timothy D. Houston of Houston Law PLLC.
Cabell Circuit Court case number: 16-C-497