Friday, November 12, 2010

Whole Foods Evil Watch: Whistleblower Suit in Brentwood, MO

It's been over three years since I wrote my post about why I hate Whole Foods, which has since become the #1 Google search for the phrase and a repository for complaints and employee horror stories.  To be fair, I doubt Whole Foods is nearly the worst in the food business when it comes to mistreating employees and sketchy food handling.  But because it markets itself as a socially responsible company (and enjoys a 34% profit margin as a result), we should be all the more wary of systematic practices that undermine integrity in the name of profits.

So a story this week about a whistleblower suit against the Whole Foods not a mile from my house obviously piqued my interest:
Elisha Wellman, the plaintiff in the suit, worked for Whole Foods from 2001 until August 30 of this year, when she was terminated. The suit names Whole Foods Market Group, Inc. and Brian Gourley, the manager of the Brentwood store, as defendants. 
 The lawsuit contends that Wellman was wrongfully terminated because she was a whistleblower:
  • She observed "unsanitary" handling of produce, comingling of organic and conventional produce, improper sanitation, and the presence of mold
  • After having worked there since 2001, she was fired on August 30, two weeks after sending letters to Whole Foods executives detailing the violations.

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