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Protest outside the P Street Whole Foods

by Prince Of Petworth January 13, 2017 at 4:10 pm 37 Comments

1440 P Street, NW by Mike Chelen

Mike writes us at 4pm: “the P st Wholefoods is being protested in support of #reinstatejulia

via coworker.org

From Reinstate Julia to Whole Foods!

“I ask John Mackey to reinstate me to my job at Whole Foods Market, and change Whole Foods Market’s policy so that accusations of theft of an item worth $10 or less be covered under their policy for corrective action.

My name is Julia Flores. I am a single mother of two from El Salvador. I have given fifteen years of my life to Whole Foods Market as a dishwasher. I have also fought many times for better working conditions for myself and my coworkers. However, in September I was fired. I am asking John Mackey to reinstate me to my job. “

  • BigD

    Same protest underway at the Foggy Bottom location.

  • Anonymous

    They are protesting because she was fired for theft? If that’s what this is about, it’s a bold move considering that Whole Foods probably could have called the police rather than simply fire her.

    • banananonymous

      Ye, sure call dc police for a theft of something $10 or less and listen to the chuckles that follow

      • ParkViewneighbor

        Maybe private companies arent as easy going

    • BlueberryAnonymous

      If you’d clicked on the link, you’d see she was ACCUSED of theft, but she denies that she did it and says she thinks she was fired for standing up for workers rights. Hence why they are protesting.

      “I was fired by my store manager Victor Vasquez because they accused me of theft. I have worked there for fifteen years and would NEVER knowingly steal anything. I believe that they have fired me in retaliation for always standing up for the rights of my coworkers and for my pending workers’ compensation lawsuit for a torn shoulder ligament that I suffered in June.

      What I need is to work. I want to work. I have always liked working at Whole Foods. I want to be working there. That is my goal. I do not believe that it is not just for them to have fired me this way. Why wouldn’t they just give me a warning? I want to be reinstated to my job.”

      • Anonymous

        The risks that Whole Foods would face for getting caught for retaliatory firing far outweigh the cost of a workers’ compensation claim. The incentive is even lower if they don’t self-insure.

        It is always possible that she never took anything. Whole Foods may consider prepared foods the same as a boxed item (hence the less than $10 part). Think of an employee making a free to-go box without getting in trouble under an implicit arrangement with other staff – a common occurrence. This is still theft. What seemed like retaliation could just be the enforcement of rules that are often left unenforced.

        She has the right to protest and right to take legal action.

    • neighbor

      Lol. DC cant seem to prosecute aggravated assault or possession with intent. You really think they care about theft under 10$?

  • No Bikes

    Maybe she got tired of standing in line for 45 minutes.

  • Rachel

    Stealing is a crime. It’s probably a good plan to re-evaluate bad decisions, while working on the resume and applying for new jobs with an improved moral compass.

    • U neighbor

      Ok let’s go, time to get up from the computer and go have a drink.

      • Anon

        + 1

      • Truxton Thomas

        Rachel must be a caricature-bot of the worst that PoPville readers have to offer. Happy Friday, everyone.

    • Forest Hills

      My moral compass leads me to read the linked article before judging the employee. The employee said she did not steal.

      “I was fired by my store manager Victor Vasquez because they accused me of theft. I have worked there for fifteen years and would NEVER knowingly steal anything. I believe that they have fired me in retaliation for always standing up for the rights of my coworkers and for my pending workers’ compensation lawsuit for a torn shoulder ligament that I suffered in June.”

      • herbie

        Of course she didn’t steal. Just ask her. Maybe she did and maybe she didn’t but if she didn’t there is some grand plan to get rid of the dishwasher.?

    • the famous boat

      Oh my God, go drink from a vat of acid.

      • Anon


    • Blithe
    • Blithe

      Stealing can be a crime. Being ACCUSED of stealing, however, is not a crime. I hope everyone’s moral compass has a direction for “innocent until proven guilty”. If not, perhaps some sort of re-evaluation and even re-education is in order.
      Oddly, every time I go to Whole Foods, I see people who I guess are customers “sampling” food, giving snacks to their children that they haven’t paid for, and occasionally even putting back or ignoring items that they’ve damaged. Such actions are apparently not viewed as “stealing”.

      • Dupont Resident

        Well, most of us people with children give them snacks THEN pay for them…please, spare me your drama

        by the way, Whole Foods has a policy that you can try anything before you buy it, it’s part of their model

      • Anon

        “Innocent until proven guilty” = standard for criminal conviction in a court of law.
        It is absolutely irrelevant to private employment. You do not have to be convicted criminally to be fired. And thank god – bc you could grab $10 out of a customer’s wallet, walk out while flipping off the cameras and telling your boss to suck it, and drop your signed confession on the floor – and the prosecutor wouldn’t bother with criminal charges. You would just be fired.
        We don’t know if she is innocent or not. Bc we don’t have the facts. But the fact that she hasn’t been convicted in a court of law is irrelevant bc she wouldn’t have been here even if she was unquestionably guilty.

    • M Napoleoni

      Wow, is lonely up in that high horse?

    • Jonathan

      Resume? what bubble are you living in Rachel?

  • Grubbyhands

    People steal more from the nuts and grain bins….ive seen grubby hands take a handful a nuts every time i go there

    • That One Guy

      I guess they were looking for a snack after “sampling” the hot food bar.

  • Kevin

    15 years as a dishwasher…either she turned down promotions or Whole Foods was paying her pretty well…because that sounds like a pretty bum deal.

    • Seriously? I know nothing about her, but it is not unusual for an immigrant with perhaps limited education and little time to master English proficiency – (because of working full time and raising 2 children!) to stay in a job like dishwashing. And you do realize that we would have no restaurants without dishwashers?

    • Hill Denizen

      Maybe she doesn’t speak English? They’re not going to move her up to other positions if she can’t communicate with customers.

    • Anon

      Kevin, I think it’s time for you to leave for the day. You’re clearly not thinking straight.

    • Reality

      You need to learn empathy. Some people work to get promotions and excel up the chain. Other people work to put food on the table and focus on family.

  • Rosie the Riviter

    Retaliation against workers who stand up for their rights at work is standard operating procedure for companies in the US. Corporations prefer to spend literally millions of dollars than grant their employees a union, or a collective voice to get living wages, safe working conditions, decent treatment. It’s one of the major reasons why the US has lagged far behind other western developed nations in union representation.

    • JRR-ERR


    • Anonymous

      She could also be claiming retaliation because she was fired for theft. One of the asks is that a theft of under $10 “be covered under their policy for corrective action.” That’s a pretty solid indicator that she did steal, knows that she stole, but wants the treatment for stealing to be different.

      • Blithe

        Maybe, maybe not. It could be that $10 is the basis for some other decisions or actions — i.e. getting a police investigation. Which would mean that someone could be accused of a crime and fired for that crime, without any independent investigation to attempt to determine whether or not they actually committed the crime. Obviously all I/we have to go on is the information that’s been reported. But you’re making a lot of “solid” assumptions with very little to back them up.

      • Bobby McBob

        The ask is not that theft under $10 be so classified. The ask is that ACCUSATION of theft under $10 be so classified, i.e., that the ask does not contain a tacit (or explicit) admission of guilt. Reading is fundamental.

        I’m embarrassed for every person commenting on this article who is tripping over themselves to point out that STEALING IS A CRIME or other such garbage non-responsible analysis. Are we that uncomfortable with protests that we’re desperate to take the side of law and order in some minor dispute like this one. FFS, give the woman her job back.

        • Blithe

          I also wonder how many of the people who focused on “stealing” vs an apparently uninvestigated accusation were playing on the computer on company time – i.e. stealing. It’s possible that class issues are confounding factors here.

        • Anon

          But when it’s $10, there isn’t going to be a jury trial, so it’s always going to be an “accusation” unless the person confesses.
          So, maybe this is true. Maybe it isn’t. (My guess is that folks in the store have a pretty good idea on way or another.) But the idea that you can’t be fired for theft absent a conviction is just…wrong. There will never be a conviction unless it’s extreme. 99 times out of 100, employee theft – even blatant, even with witnesses, even with video – will only be an “accusation” bc no charges will ever be filed. The person is just fired.

  • Anon

    I would get fired if I stole $10. Actually, (I’m a lawyer), I would be disbarred if I BORROWED $10 of a client’s money to buy a sandwich and then put it back in the account 10 minutes later.
    The lack of details make me suspicious here. Also – Is she innocent and this was made up as an excuse to fire her? Or was this an honest mistake and the dollar amount was insignificant? Bc there are two stories here.
    Regardless – If I thought my employee was incompetent, I’d pull them aside repeatedly and try to train them, give them opportunity to improve. If I thought my employee was disengaged / upset with management, I’d try to connect, try to find out if something in his/her personal life that needed support, question if I needed to improve as a manager.
    But if an employee stole a dollar from me – I’d fire them on the spot and escort them out. Same – If my boss stole a dollar from me, I’d quit. (Not words – I just left a job bc I thought my boss was unethical.) Trust/intergrity is absolutely everything.


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