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EEOC lawsuit accuses Whole Foods of wrongful termination

Whole Foods has been sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after they fired a cashier that has a genetic disorder that caused cysts to grow on her kidneys. She had worked at Whole Foods since 2005 and was fired in 2015 after she missed two days of work when she was in the hospital due to her condition. In 2009, she received a kidney transplant to help with the condition.

The woman let Whole Foods know about the two days she needed to miss in advance, and yet the company still fired her. According to the lawsuit, Whole Foods' actions violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages for the woman after the actions taken by Whole Foods.

It will be interesting to see where this lawsuit goes from here, but what is important to note here is that Whole Foods did this to a cashier. If their company culture is willing to do this to a cashier, then it is likely that the work environment there is toxic enough that they would do this to anyone. This woman was simply trying to work for a living, and she did so loyally for a decade. Her genetic condition necessitated that she take time off to treat it. That Whole Foods found it necessarily to terminate her -- even with notice -- is galling.

Employers do not have unlimited power. When they step over the line, the victims should hold them accountable.

Source: News & Observer, "EEOC alleges Whole Foods wrongly terminated Raleigh employee," Claire Ballentine, Oct. 2, 2017

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