LOUISVILLE (CN) – A Whole Foods employee claims managers took their advocacy for all things organic a bit too far, and retaliated against him for reporting that “management employees smoked marijuana during team leadership meetings on company time.” Kyle Rhodes claims he was the only one who refused to toke up during the “leadership meetings.”
Rhodes, an associate team leader in Louisville, claims that his store’s team leader, Scott Johnson, “facilitated and encouraged this illegal behavior and every member of management present at these meetings, except for plaintiff, who repeatedly refused to partake, took part in the illegal drug activity.”
In his complaint in Jefferson County Court, Rhodes says he complained about this in June 2009.
Rhodes claims that after Whole Foods investigated the toking and issued a report that substantiated his complaints, he was “treated as an outcast by fellow team members, had his leadership job responsibilities such as schedule making reassigned and … [was] left out of pertinent communications relative to his job responsibilities.”
Rhodes, who has worked for the company for 8 years, says the retaliation included being denied a promotion to store team leader, and adds that his request to transfer to Houston was rejected because management gave him an “unfavorable recommendation.”
Rhodes claims Johnson continued to mistreat him for complaining about the pot smoking by falsely stating in a job performance evaluation that he is “rude and uncaring toward customers, that he fails to complete assigned tasks, that he does not get along well with other team members and often take a harsh and aggressive tone when talking to others, that he leaves early, fails to cooperate and fails to properly communicate with store leadership.”
Rhodes says his co-workers denigrated him by stating in a company survey that he is “a despicable excuse for a leader,” a “disgrace,” ineffective and “useless.”
Rhodes says the defamatory comments will hurt him financially because wage increases and bonuses are based on job performance.
Rhodes seeks damages for retaliation, defamation and outrage.
He is represented by Joseph Wibbels Jr. of Louisville.