Whole Foods was named in a lawsuit that claims the company wrongfully fired an employee who was concerned about the quality of certain food products. His suit seeks $15 million in damages. Wrongful termination is an understandable fear that prevents some workers in Massachusetts from speaking up about unjust or unsafe practices in the workplace.
The 44-year-old meat cutter started working with the company in Jan. 2015, but he did not notice anything amiss until later that year. In July 2015, he apparently witnessed multiple staff members violating health regulations by thawing out frozen meat at room temperature. He later noted indications that the meat was spoiled, but says that it was still put on display and sold to customers. The former employee claims that he was told to simply go along with store practices after he complained to a supervisor.
Repeated complaints to store supervisors went ignored, which led him to take his concerns to the local health department. He was fired the day after he made the complaint. Whole Foods cited the worker's behavior, claiming that he made other employees uncomfortable and that he contributed to a hostile environment. He was also accused of holding a cell phone in his hand while on the job, which violated company policy.
Far too often, employees in Massachusetts are bullied and pushed into adhering to unsafe business practices. When workers do summon up the courage to speak out against such practices, many are faced with the loss of their employment. Wrongful termination can negatively affect a person's financial and emotional well-being by not only eliminating a regular paycheck, but also by making it more difficult for them to find gainful employment in the future. Big businesses might seem impossible to hold accountable, but wrongful termination suits can be quite effective at achieving just compensation for workers who were fired without just reasons.
Source: ctpost.com, "Ex-worker files $15M lawsuit against Whole Foods", Daniel Tepfer, April 7, 2016