Chianti Jones, a former employee who worked in the Prepared Foods section of the Whole Foods Market store in Metairie, Louisiana, filed a sexual harassment, hostile work environment, race discrimination, and retaliation lawsuit against the company on October 29, 2010.
Jones claims that her immediate supervisor, Matthew Alexander, made inappropriate sexual advances toward Jones on an ongoing basis beginning in July 2009.
According to the complaint, “Jones made it clear to Mr. Alexander that she was not interested in dating him, that his advances were unwelcome and that it was against Whole Foods’ policy for team members to date.”
Despite constantly telling Alexander that she was not interested in his sexual advances, and even threatening to report Alexander’s sexually offensive behavior to management, she continued to be sexually harassed by Alexander.
On March 2, 2010, Jones filed an official complaint with the EEOC. Jones alleges that the harassment and retaliation became worse.
Jones claims that she was approached by James Cook, the Assistant Store Team Leader, and told that he was written up because of her and that he could have lost his job. Cook told Jones that because of her, Alexander was being transferred to the Arabella Station store.
On June 6, 2010, Jones overheard a conversation where Cook stated that Jones was disrespectful and that he was going to do everything in his power to have her terminated because she is the reason he received a final warning.
According to the complaint, Jones was terminated on June 11, 2010 “in retaliation for complaining about Mr. Alexander’s sexually harassing conduct and for complaining about management’s lack of response when a customer called her a ‘stupid ass nigger.'”
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