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Whole Foods Responds to OSHA Lawsuit

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Yesterday, OSHA announced it was suing Whole Foods for firing a whistleblower at their Miami Beach location — a whistleblower who claimed the grocer's management team ignored sewage leaking out of a bathroom and into the cheese department. Because commenting on a blog is a great way for a major corporation to fight bad publicity, a verified Whole Foods rep jumped into the comments to explain things and, unsurprisingly, deny everything.

For starters, Whole Foods wants you to know that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission already investigated this case and dismissed it "finding no probable cause for wrongful termination." (That information is only available under the Freedom of Information Act, so you'll have take their word for it for now.) Also, the grocer claims it brought in a professional cleaning service to completely clean the sewage backup as soon as it was discovered, contrary to what the whistleblower has said. And, most importantly: "At all times, the areas of the store open to customers were clean and safe." Here's the full statement:

Hi, Libba from Whole Foods Market here. We deny these accusations. The EEOC investigated and dismissed these allegations earlier this year, finding no probable cause for wrongful termination. While we cannot discuss the former Team Member's employment with us, we deny that she was retaliated against. It is important to note that she was not the first or only person to report the problem.

Here are the facts regarding the plumbing issue: that area of Miami Beach has problems with pipes backing up during high tide when there's been significant rainfall. The backup in our store equated to about an inch of water that encompassed about a three-foot span over one of the drains. The entire area was closed for complete cleaning as soon as the problem was discovered, and was cleaned and sanitized again the next day by a professional cleaning service. When it happened again the same professional cleaners were back at the store in less than 24 hours and the entire area was sanitized again.

At all times, the areas of the store open to customers were clean and safe."

So, basically, what they are trying to say is that shit happens in Miami Beach? And they always clean up their shit.

· All Whole Foods Coverage on Eater [-E-]

[Photo: revenante/Flickr]

Whole Foods

1020 Alton Road, Miami, Florida