A woman who has polycystic kidney disease has filed a lawsuit against Whole Foods with help from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The lawsuit alleges that the woman, whose condition leads to cysts growing on her kidneys and can ultimately lead to kidney failure, was fired for her disability and that Whole Foods did nothing to accommodate the woman despite her disability.
The woman was a cashier at Whole Foods, and she worked there for ten years, starting in 2005. In 2009, she had a kidney transplant to help with her condition. In 2015, she missed work on two separate days because of her kidney condition, but she informed Whole Foods of her need to miss work beforehand.
Whole Foods used the rationale that the woman missed work to fire her, even though she had been a loyal employee for a decade and had given them notice about the absences. The woman and the EEOC say that Whole Foods violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which requires employers to give reasonable accommodations to their employees that live with disabilities.
These are despicable actions by Whole Foods, and if the woman’s case is proven true then she will be eligible for considerable compensation, including back pay and punitive damages. The lawsuit could also take huge steps in forcing Whole Foods to change, as well as bolster its work environment and policies towards people living with disabilities.
Source: News & Observer, “EEOC alleges Whole Foods wrongly terminated Raleigh employee,” Claire Ballentine, Oct. 2, 2017