Whole Foods charged with ill intentions over employee bonuses

Dive Brief:

  • Whole Foods, the national upscale grocery chain, has been accused of cheating employees out of their earned bonuses, the Washington Post reports. One past and one current employee of a D.C.-based store filed a federal class action suit against the Whole Foods chain, claiming that the company underhandedly avoided paying workers bonuses they had earned.
  • Last week, Whole Foods announced the firing of nine managers in the Maryland, Virginia and D.C. areas for allegedly gaming the company’s gainsharing program, which rewards departments for operating under budget. The Post says the chain didn’t specify how the program was gamed.
  • However, the lawsuit claims that Whole Foods cheated the workers out of bonuses by shifting labor costs to departments that weren’t operating under budget. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, claims that the chain floated employees around to different departments to shift labor costs.

Dive Insight:

The Whole Foods case isn’t settled yet, so how the court will rule is unknown. But employers who act unethically shouldn’t think employees won’t notice. Shifting labor costs is a tactic companies often used to keep unlawful activities off the books.

If the employees win the case, Whole Foods might have to pay out $200 million in damages and back pay for starters in addition to legal fees and other expenses. The money it allegedly tried to hold onto by avoiding to pay bonuses will have gone into court-related charges and fees. 


Filed Under: Legal Corporate News
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