The company is
currently struggling with an identity crisis, with CEO John Mackey
looking to purge what he views as unhealthy evils such as processed
sugars and white bread from the chain's lineup. And he
created a major storm of publicity when he attacked President Obama's
healthcare reform plan in a Wall Street Journal interview.
And to top it all off, sales of the company are slipping.
this harsh atmosphere and its CEO's controversial comments, the
company is reportedly cracking down on employees' expression of
dissatisfaction online. DailyTech interviewed Whole
Foods Market employees at several locations, and according to them
the chain has implemented a zero tolerance policy with regards to
online postings and is aggressively monitoring its employees.
employee reports that the company discovered a post on their private
Facebook page via a friend who leaked the info. The post
complained about a long day and obnoxious customers. Despite
the fact that the general public could not view the page, WFM
reportedly gave the employee a disciplinary notice and disciplined
several other employees who commented on the post as well. WFM
is reportedly monitoring its employee's Myspace, Facebook, Twitter,
and blog accounts both directly and via friends (for private
accounts) to identify and silence such complaints.
WFM is by no means the first employer to carry
out such a campaign, it remains alarming nonetheless that the
company is going to such lengths to scrutinize casual comments on
private online posting spots. It is unclear if the policy has
been adopted nationwide, but it's clear at least that it has been
adopted across the state that the interviews were conducted in, which
is home to several WFM stores.
The employees we spoke with
called the tactic "intrusive" and "scary".
They also expressed concern that the actions of their company's CEO
are provoking the company to attack its employees as a reactionary
response to the embarrassment his comments are causing.
written up unfortunately have little recourse inside the store.
Unlike many grocers, Whole Foods Market is not unionized.
However, it would seem unsurprising to see employees sue the company
for invasion of privacy if this policy continues.
quote: It's stupid for people to talk about their employer in any public forum. If they've got a problem bring it to the manager if necessary.
quote: First off, what you say on Facebook should be obviously protected by the First Amendment.
quote: 1. At-will employment