Whole Foods Sued for Alleged Wrongful Termination and Employment Discrimination

On Friday, Tony Birittieri filed a complaint against Whole Foods Market Group, Inc. and Whole Foods Market in the Southern District of New York for wrongful termination and employment discrimination.

According to the complaint, the defendants employed Birittieri from March 15, 2019 to September 28, 2020 at defendants’ Whole Foods Market located in Greenwich, Conn. 

In the complaint, Birittieri states that he has a protected status due to his age and disabilities including chronic knee issues, high blood pressure and spinal stenosis. According to Birittieri, he notified his supervisors and the defendants of his disabilities and the accommodations he required for his disabilities. 

Birittieri further states that, on multiple occasions, he informed the defendants he was unable to work nights due to complications with his knees, but that accommodation was denied and Birittieri was discouraged by his supervisors from obtaining a doctor’s note stating he could not work nights. Further, the complaint states that Birittieri was forced to return to work four days after a workplace injury despite having a doctor’s note advising the defendants he should take a week off then return with restrictions. 

The complaint alleges that, during Birittieri’s final week of employment, he received a call from his supervisor telling him he was supposed to be working despite not being scheduled to work and having a doctor’s note stating he was not supposed to be working. According to Birittieri, after informing his supervisor that he was not scheduled to work and had a doctor’s note, his employment was terminated by another supervisor. 

The plaintiff purports that he was viewed as a strong worker, was informed by his supervisors that “he was doing a great job and had a future within the company” and even earned a full-time position after starting in a part-time role. However, according to Birittieri, he was terminated on September 28 2020 without any reasoning, cooperative dialog or engagement concerning his disabilities. Further, the complaint states after termination, it is believed that Birittieri was replaced by a younger and more able employee. 

The plaintiff offered counts of wrongful termination, disability discrimination, age discrimination and failure to provide reasonable accommodation under Title VII, The Americans with Disabilities Act, and the New York State Human Rights Law. The plaintiffs requested relief is economic, non-economic, compensatory and punitive damages, pre-judgment interest and costs including reasonable attorneys’ fees. The plaintiff is represented by Shegerian & Associates