Goodwill Industries is purportedly pressuring its stores to adopt critical race theory-style training as part of the organization’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiative.
According to former Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania (SWPA) Retail Operations Manager Timothy O’Malley, his region first began discussions on how the company was going to be “different” following the 2020 presidential election.
“They stated that it was gonna be different and we were gonna make it about our community and our places,” he said. “That just turned out not to be true.”
O’Malley, who was employed with Goodwill for more than ten years, says that Goodwill of SWPA began holding “implicit bias training” for store managers in early 2021, which included a required “three to four hour” session led by a “racial equity trainer” in February.
“They started pushing us to recruit employees to be part of it,” he said. Implicit bias training is a common component of critical race theory and has been proven to be scientifically inaccurate to the point that some of the researchers who developed implicit bias tests have now repudiated them as wildly inaccurate and unreliable.
O’Malley also says he attended a “safe space meeting meant for asking questions” that same month, in which he raised “concerns” about the company’s woke policies that stemmed from Goodwill International’s recently fostered DEI initiative.
“I think they just assumed that I’d be on board with this because I foster children of all races and sexualities,” he said. “But I started asking questions about equality of outcome and equality of opportunity and I could tell that they weren’t too thrilled with me about that.”
“You were supposed to be able to offer your ideas, and so I suggested Thomas Sowell as an author to have some diversity of thought, and they told me that that’s not really what the DEI committee is about,” he added.
Following the committee’s pivot to discussions about “DEI language” and plans on how to “achieve equity,” O’Malley says he began asking questions regarding disciplinary outcomes.
“I said, so what you’re basically telling me is a white person and a black person can do the same thing, but a black person might be able to stay and a white person would get fired,” he said, while also claiming that Regional Director of Goodwill SWPA and North Central West Virginia Jessica McConnell told him, “That’s the point.”
McConnell did not return The Federalist’s request for comment. The below screenshot shows Goodwill pledging to “only create merchandise” that represents members of preferred races.
Following months of numerous objections to the region’s leadership and an attempt to obtain a religious exemption from the company’s DEI push, O’Malley says he was terminated without cause in September 2021. O’Malley provided The Federalist a copy of his termination letter from Goodwill human resources.
“This was something I knew I wasn’t gonna win any friends by standing up for, but I just really feel that this is overreach by an employer trying to tell me how to feel,” he said. “I also really think it’s a betrayal of the donors’ trust.”
When pressed for details about his dismissal, Goodwill of SWPA’s vice president of marketing and development David Tobiczyk told The Federalist that the company “does not comment on specific personnel matters.”
The DEI Push Is Coming From The Top Down
The implementation of DEI appears not to be limited to Goodwill of SWPA. According to O’Malley, the company’s national arm, Goodwill Industries International (GII), has been “pushing the regions” to adopt DEI policies.
In June 2021, Goodwill International appointed Dr. Samantha-Rae Dickenson as its new director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, to “lead the development and promotion of DEI plans and implement workplace and initiatives and best practices” and “support the 156 local Goodwill nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Canada by developing and curating DEI resources and strategies.”
“Goodwill’s entire mission and history has been to advance opportunities for people of all backgrounds in the workplace. Based on the rapidly changing nature of work, our commitment to DEI will entail ensuring that all people can benefit in the prosperity of our country by being equipped to compete for emerging opportunities in the workplace,” said GII CEO Steven C. Preston in a statement. “We are grateful to have Dr. Dickenson’s expertise as we continue our work to expand equitable opportunities for people in communities across our country.”
Dickenson’s so-called “expertise,” however, descends from her past embrace of ideologies such as critical race theory. Writing in a 2018 dissertation at the University of New England, Dickenson used “Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality Theory, and Black Feminist Theory as a theoretical framework to illustrate the occurrence of racial microaggressions that Black women face in the government sector.”
“According to the results of this study, societal standards can influence the behavior of Black women in a work setting and increase the occurrence of racial microaggressions which negatively affect their emotional views about themselves and their jobs, regardless of her level of education, age, socioeconomic status, type of job,” she wrote. “Results also illustrated that educating employees by holding all employees accountable for inappropriate actions and mentorship are effective methods that can help to reduce the occurrence of racial microaggressions in the workplace.”
In addition to hiring Dickenson and establishing a National DEI Task Force, Goodwill International has also taken steps to become more “intentional advocates for change” following the death of George Floyd. In May 2021, CEO Steven Preston confirmed that he signed the “CEO Action Pledge” in order to “provide a more supportive and inclusive workplace.”
According to the pledge, CEO’s commit to implementing and expanding “unconscious bias training,” which aims to help “employees recognize and minimize their blind spots” and to “facilitate more open and honest conversations.” CEO Action had previously hosted an event headlined by author of “White Fragility” Robin DiAngelo, who provided “insights on how to be #antiracist.”
When you’re willing to put in the work to be an antiracist leader and company, you can transform your organization and society. Robin DiAngelo shared valuable insights on how to be #antiracist at the #CEOAction Closed-Door Session yesterday. pic.twitter.com/6DizkgLTzn
— CEOAction (@CEOAction) November 20, 2020
Furthermore, Goodwill International has also released a three-part series on “microaggressions” that focuses on how employees can identify and address such actions in the workplace.
“Education is key to understanding how systemic discrimination and racism impacts each of us, pervades our daily lives, and negatively impacts the lives and futures of people of color,” the first post reads. “As we all learn ways to become anti-racist, it’s important to learn about microaggressions and how to address them in the workplace.”
“People who are on the receiving end of microaggressions or bias may be accused of being overly sensitive, not taking a joke or not accepting a statement intended as a compliment. Receiving a microaggression can be a stressful and negative emotional experience that contributes to a nonproductive and toxic working environment,” it added.
Goodwill Industries International did not return The Federalist’s multiple requests for comment about O’Malley’s allegations and the above screenshots.