Trader Joe’s stated that the employee was not fired for raising safety issues, but because “he had no respect for our customers.”
A former Trader Joe employee stated that he was fired for advocating increasing the company’s COVID-19 safety precautions, especially requiring employees to have the ability to withdraw unobstructed customers from the store.
Last Friday, New York City resident Ben Bonnema tweeted that he had just been fired from the crew of Trader Joe’s 545 on the Upper West Side of New York City because he wrote to the company’s CEO requesting Other coronavirus workplace safety measures. He posted an image of the email in a tweet, and the image spread quickly and has been retweeted nearly 40,000 times so far.
In a letter to the company’s CEO Dan Bane earlier this month, Bonnema cited new research on the dangers of coronavirus aerosol transmission and asked Trader Joe’s to take more measures to improve air filtration and circulation, and monitor CO2 in its stores. Level.
Bonnema also asked for a new company policy to allow employees to prevent anyone without a mask from entering the trader Joe’s, and to give employees the right to delete customers who do not wear a mask or wear a mask incorrectly.
“Recently I was yelled by a customer who did not want to wear a mask on his nose, despite [Trader Joe’s employees] He has been asked to do so. He was allowed to complete shopping and checkout. “
He wrote: “The ADA requires us to provide reasonable accommodation, and we do this by offering them shopping. If they refuse, we should not let them in.” He suggested adopting a “three strike policy” to “from Uncooperative people withdrawn from the store”.
He said: “These changes can only be achieved with your approval.” “We get our lives into trouble by participating in work every day. Please show us our lives by adopting these policies.”
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Trader Joe’s spokesperson, Kenya Friend-Daniel, refuted Bonnema’s claim that his letter had been fired, saying that the company”[had] Never and will not terminate the employment of crew members for raising safety issues. “
She said: “At Joe Trading Co., Ltd., nothing is more important than the safety of our crew and customers.” “During his short-term tenure with Trader Joe’s, the crew’s suggestions were heard and properly addressed. Because of his treatment of customers. Disrespectful, the store leader terminated the crew’s employment.”
However, according to the official dismissal notice posted by Bonnema to his Twitter account, it was his proposal to wear a mask to improve workplace safety that led to the dismissal.
“In a recent email, you suggested adopting the “Three Strikes Policy” for customers and implementing the same accommodation conditions for every customer suffering from illness to prevent them from wearing masks. These suggestions are inconsistent with our core values In addition, you declare that Trader Joe’s will not “show up for us” without adopting your policies.”
“Obviously, you don’t understand our values. Therefore, we no longer feel comfortable with your work at Trader Joe’s.”
However, according to Bonnema’s official performance evaluation report published on Twitter, in August, he received full marks in the “Customer Performance” and “Value” categories.
The comments praised his customer service in particular. “We thank you for your dedication and care to customers every day, because you continue to interact with them thoughtfully at the registration desk and sales site… It is absolutely my honor to be with you. Keep up with our good work.
BuzzFeed News has asked Trader Joe’s whether the documents shared on Twitter are legal and clarified Bonnema’s tenure and performance.
His lawyer Benjamin Dictor told BuzzFeed News in a statement on Sunday that Bonnema had retained legal representatives to fight his “retaliatory termination” and planned to submit his case To the National Labor Relations Committee.
(Dictor is also an attorney for NewsGuild in New York, who represents the editors of BuzzFeed News.)
He said: “Mr. Bonama’s spotless work record at the company is only further evidence that the company’s decision to fire him is an illegal attempt to threaten, restrict and force Mr. Bonama and his colleagues to engage in protected concerted action. .”. “Mr. Bonama has the right to federal protection and advocates the safety of his colleagues in the workplace. Therefore, the termination of his actions should be condemned.
BuzzFeed news reporter Salvador Hernandez (Salvador Hernandez) contributed to this story.