On Nov. 1, 2009, the smell in the Miami Beach Whole Foods super-stinky cheese aisle reached a new level of pungency as raw sewage covered the floor.
Despite the efforts of Whole Foods management to view the situation through rose-scented glasses, and a lot of air freshener, raw sewage is neither an aromatic nor safety enhancement.
Miami New Times Blogs reported at the time that an unnamed employee said after brown-colored and rank smelling water flooded the cheese aisle she discovered that a sewage line had broken. After local management decided to just lock the bathroom doors and cover the mess with air spray, she reported the incident to corporate management.
She got fired.
Now, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is suing the chain for firing the employee.
OSHA is asking the federal court to remedy the situation by issuing an order that includes a permanent injunction against Whole Foods to prevent future violations of this law; reinstating the former employee with full benefits; paying back wages, punitive damages and compensatory damages to the employee; expunging the employee’s personnel file with respect to the matters at issue in this case; and granting any other appropriate relief.