A longtime employee of the Whole Foods Market in Brentwood is suing the company for firing her after she complained to her superiors about the alleged mishandling of organic produce.
Elisha Wellman of St. Louis had worked at the store since 2001. But in late August, she was fired, the lawsuit says, after she repeatedly pointed out unsanitary display crates and shelving, and the commingling of organic and nonorganic produce.
"She attempted to bring this to the attention of her managers, then brought it to a regional level, and then a week or so later she lost her job," said Gary A. Growe, Wellman's attorney. "They accused her of being involved with some customer complaints some six or eight months ago, that she had nothing to do with."
Under the "at-will" doctrine, Wellman had the legal ability to quit at anytime, while Whole Foods could fire her at any time, for any reason, unless the termination was discriminatory. But, Growe explained, the law contains a "public policy exemption" that prohibits a company from firing a person if they point out violations of law or policy. It's under this exemption that Growe is making his case.
"The law gives you the term 'whistle-blower,'" Growe said.
As a certified organic store, Whole Foods has to comply with U.S. Department of Agriculture rules that strictly prohibit the mingling of organic and nonorganic foods.
The company would not comment on the specifics of the complaint, but a spokesman explained that the store separates organic from nonorganic produce by taking a number of required steps...
Source: newsroom - meattradenewsdaily.co.uk
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