A story I missed a couple of weeks ago – that Whole Foods fired a worker because she stayed home with her kid during a snow emergency.
Rhiannon Broschat, a single mother in Chicago, decided to stay home from work on the freezing cold day of Jan. 28 because school was canceled. Broschat says she looked for someone to take care of her special-needs son, couldn’t find help, and decided not to leave him alone. That is a good thing, the kind of decision employers and all of us should move over to make room for. But Whole Foods fired Broschat. It’s not quite that simple, since, according to ThinkProgress, Whole Foods in the Midwest gives workers five unexcused absences over six months, and this was the one that put Broschat over the line. (She says she had documentation for her other absences.) But still: If she’d gone to work that day, Broschat would still have her job.
School was canceled, ffs. That doesn’t happen all the time. I know employees can’t just stay home whenever they feel like it, but surely the above situation is rare enough and exigent enough that a decent company could make allowances.
The Whole Foods spokesperson told ThinkProgress that its stores were open across Chicago, city transportation was running, and fewer than 10 employees didn’t come to work that day because of unexcused absences.
What’s that got to do with anything? Broschat’s son’s school was canceled, so the fact that city transportation was running is beside the point. It’s unfortunate that she doesn’t have a better support system, but guess what, good support systems don’t just fall out of the sky. People who have them can probably work at places that are better to them than Whole Foods was to Rhiannon Broschat. The person it’s really unfortunate for that Rhiannon Broschat doesn’t have a better support system is Rhiannon Broschat, not Whole Foods. Whole Foods can get along fine, but Rhiannon Broschat can’t.