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Whole Foods Market, Inc. During their time working at Whole Foods, Whole Foods used a profit sharing program called "Gainsharing". Under this Gainsharing program, Whole Foods awarded bonuses to employees whose departments performed under budget by distributing the surplus savings among the employees in that department.
However, the Plaintiffs claimed that Whole Foods undermined this program by imposing a nationwide scheme of "shifting" labor costs.
Under this alleged scheme, if a department came in over budget, Whole Foods corporate leadership instructed store leadership including Store Team Leaders to "shift" the labor costs of that department to a department that had a budget surplus.
Payroll Specialists at a Whole Foods store would then effectuate labor cost shifting by manually altering employee time records and submitting the manipulated records to corporate headquarters for payroll processing.
The Plaintiffs were all interviewed by Whole Foods investigators prior to their termination and stated that shifting labor costs was a standard practice throughout Whole Foods stores. Some of the Plaintiffs also stated they received explicit instructions from corporate officials at Whole Foods to do so.
The Associated Press article attributed Whole Foods' statements and details about the investigation to a Whole Foods spokeswoman.
None of the news stories specifically identified any of the Plaintiffs by name, however. After being terminated, the Plaintiffs brought suit and alleged they were wrongfully terminated by Whole Foods in retaliation for blowing the whistle on the allegedly improper manner in which the company conducted its Gainsharing program.
Following their terminations, the Plaintiffs alleged that Whole Foods defamed them by falsely accusing them via published news stories of manipulating the Gainsharing program for their own benefit.
Whole Foods subsequently moved to dismiss the claims. Note, this case brief analyzes only the Court's consideration of the defamation claim. To establish a valid defamation claim, a party must show 1 that the defendant made a false and defamatory statement concerning the plaintiff; 2 that the defendant published the statement without privilege to a third party; 3 that the defendant's fault in publishing the statement amounted to at least negligence; 4 either that the statement is actionable as a matter of law irrespective of special harm or that its publication caused the plaintiff special harm.
Of or Concerning the Plaintiffs At the outset, Whole Foods argued that the Plaintiffs could not establish the first defamation prong as any statements made in the news stories did not name or disclose any personal information to identify any particular Plaintiff.
However, the Court noted that a prior D. Circuit case had established that a defendant can make a false and defamatory statement of and concerning a plaintiff without specifically identifying the plaintiff by name.
As that prior case held, "When a statement refers to a group, a member of that group may claim defamation if the group's size or other circumstances are such that a reasonable listener could conclude the statement referred to each member or 'solely or especially' to the plaintiff.
In this instance, the Court held that sufficient facts had been plead to establish the first prong, although none of the Plaintiffs were specifically named in the news stories.
The statements made in the news stories would not require a large inferential leap to think that the Plaintiffs' colleagues at Whole Foods would have known about the terminations and reasonably believed that the statements referred to the Plaintiffs.
Given the temporal proximity between the Plaintiffs' termination and the publication of the statements in various news stories, the Court held that it was plausible to infer that "a listener could perceive that the [Plaintiffs] [are] connected to [wage theft and bonus manipulation].
When looking at the statements made by the spokeswoman, Plaintiffs were painted as cheats and thieves. The Court noted it would not be a stretch to find these statements, if false, would injure Plaintiffs in their profession and community and "would be offensive to a reasonable person.
As a result, Whole Foods argued the Plaintiffs' claims with regard to the remaining statements should be dismissed. However, the Court disagreed and held that at this stage of litigation, what only "mattered" was that the Plaintiffs had successfully plead at least some actionable statements.
Discovery would bear out whether the remaining statements were attributable to Whole Foods. The District Court denied Whole Foods' motion to dismiss the defamation claim brought by the Plaintiffs on the grounds that the Plaintiffs had plead sufficient facts to establish that Whole Foods and its spokeswoman might have defamed the Plaintiffs in news stories after the Plaintiffs were terminated.
I caution readers to not read too much into the Court's ruling here. Yes, the facts as alleged by the Plaintiffs paint a picture of Whole Foods potentially engaging in defamatory conduct after the Plaintiffs were terminated. However, as the Court noted, the matter before the Court was Whole Foods' motion to dismiss the Plaintiffs' claims rather than a trial on the merits.How to Take the Day Pledge.
Take note of the important resources on our Start Here page. Complete the form below including your start date.
We recommend that you take at least a few days or longer to plan and prepare your kitchen with whole foods so you have enough to eat once your mission starts. Also, consider boxing away the stuff.
This case Whole Foods in UK, The Growth Challenges focus on Whole Foods Markets Inc. (Whole Foods) started in in Texas, US, successfully tapped the growing interest of American consumers in 'organic foods', and emerged as the world's largest organic foods retailing chain by Case Code: GRS Teaching Note.
2 v.5 “Related Cases”).2 The ten other Related Cases were pending in federal district courts around the country, but are all now pending in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, before the Hon.
Sam Sparks. Employees at Whole Foods Market say the company’s new policies have thrown their workday into chaos, with one supervisor saying it’s not uncommon to see stressed-out employees crying on the job.
Whole Foods Market Bridgewater offers a full range of high-quality natural and organic foods at affordable prices with a special emphasis on our LOCAL vendors. Located in the heart of Somerset County, the Bridgewater store offers an exciting gathering place for the community. Summary Thiamine is found in a variety of whole foods, such as fortified breakfast cereals, macadamia nuts, pork, beans and lentils.
The recommended daily intake for thiamine is mg for men and.