Whole Foods Board Decides Common Sense Ain't Common Enough: Bans Execs From Web Postings

from the common-sense-ain't-what-it-used-to-be dept

Over the summer, there was some press coverage over the news that the CEO of Whole Foods had, for years, been posting to Yahoo message boards about his company under a fake name. It doesn't look like he did anything illegal, but it was certainly questionable from an ethical standpoint. Whole Foods' board has now responded by changing the company's "code of conduct" to ban execs from posting to non-company-sponsored web forums about company related news. In other words, the board felt the need to basically put what should be common sense into its code of conduct. Of course, the easy retort is that it clearly wasn't common sense to the CEO who engaged in it, but one would think with the ongoing SEC investigation he'd now be pretty aware of this fact, and changing the company's code of conduct is unlikely to have much of an impact.


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  •  
    identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Nov 7th, 2007 @ 8:23am

    Review

    I am certain that every executive thoroughly reviews the code of conduct when they are hired and checks it annually for updates.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      InkChemist, Nov 7th, 2007 @ 8:41am

      Re: Review

      Yes, absolutely, so he can find every possible loophole and make his plans for getting rich off the efforts of others.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        The Man, Nov 7th, 2007 @ 9:02am

        Re: Re: Review by InkChemist

        People really think like you? What a sad life. Stop being so worried about what others have accomplished and you will be happier. CEO's of companies got there by hard work. People in the free market make what they are worth based on merrit, real or projected. If you think you are worth more money, work harder and prove it. You will never achive anyting by sitting around and being negative about the amount of money other make. Get out and do something for yourself.

        PS. Now that I am your life coach, 10% of any increased salary you recive based on this advise should be forwarded to me.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Michael Brutsch, Nov 7th, 2007 @ 9:21am

          Re: Re: Re: Review by InkChemist

          You know, "The Man", it's this sort of useless, anonymous blather that has dropped TechDirt from our radar. They used to have some mild standards around here...

           

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        •  
          identicon
          Another Man, Nov 7th, 2007 @ 9:43am

          Re: Re: Re: Review by InkChemist

          Here, here! I agree with your comment. But remember without InkChemist's line of thinking we would lose the entertainment value of his paranoid comments. Life is fair, it is just.

           

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          identicon
          niftyswell, Nov 7th, 2007 @ 10:44am

          Re: Re: Re: Review by InkChemist

          Here Here...the American way isnt to be jealous or suspicious of success but to embrace the fact that those opportunities are available to anyone willing to work hard enough to succeed! Awesome response - I went from homeless child to chemical engineer and there are very few societies that provide that kind of opportunity. If you are willing to work two jobs on night shift to finance your school during the day you can be successful too!

           

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          identicon
          ehrichweiss, Nov 7th, 2007 @ 12:57pm

          Re: Re: Re: Review by InkChemist

          People really think like YOU? You're assuming that someone has a sad life because they realize that some CEOs, etc. are completely rotten to the core; you're assuming they are obsessing over this and aren't doing things for themselves. Not everything is love and light, sometimes there is pain, death and suffering, and ignoring it, or suggesting that one do so, is one of the stupidest things you can do in life.

           

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          identicon
          mike sved, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 9:33am

          Re: Re: Re: Review by InkChemist

          must be a friend of the mackeys

           

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      •  
        identicon
        Boost, Nov 7th, 2007 @ 10:30am

        Re: Re: Review

        I don't think the CEO of Whole foods needs to really worry about getting more money, let alone by unscroupulous (did I spell that correctly?) methods.


        Gotta love that cheese section.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2007 @ 9:03am

    Probably just a way to have something in writing so if this situation arises again, they have grounds to fire the person. I know pretty obvious but I just wanted to state the obvious1

     

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      icon
      Mike (profile), Nov 7th, 2007 @ 9:37am

      Re:

      Probably just a way to have something in writing so if this situation arises again, they have grounds to fire the person. I know pretty obvious but I just wanted to state the obvious1

      Again, you don't need grounds to fire someone. It's at will employment, meaning someone can be fired for any non-discriminatory reason.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    The Man, Nov 7th, 2007 @ 9:06am

    The reason for the change is obvious

    I am suprised that Mike thinks the change in the companies code of conduct is not necessary. What is the first thing that will happen if they just fire the Exec for the obvious ethical breach? The wrongful term. lawyer will demand the documentation that specifically informs the employees that posting negative comments is against policy. They must have realized they did not have any documentaion and therefore writting it down for the next time this happens.

     

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    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Nov 7th, 2007 @ 9:36am

      Re: The reason for the change is obvious

      What is the first thing that will happen if they just fire the Exec for the obvious ethical breach? The wrongful term. lawyer will demand the documentation that specifically informs the employees that posting negative comments is against policy.

      Last I checked Texas (where Whole Foods is based) is an at will employment state. In other words, Whole Foods can fire anyone with or without cause, as long as it's not discriminatory.

      In other words, there need not be a violation of policy to get fired.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2007 @ 9:42am

    At will

    At will only goes so far. Many a person has sued for wrongful termination under "at will" cercumstance.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    barrenwaste, Nov 7th, 2007 @ 9:54am

    Huh

    I'm afraid I don't understand this. If it wasn't illegal where is the problem? After reading the story and considering his actions, I fail to see how it was ethically questionable. When you break it down, he was merely advertising for his company and his "barbed" remarks weren't that barbed. So he leaked information to the public via the internet and a pseudonym. Big deal, none of the information he leaked was sensitive or damaging to the company. Whole Foods should be shaking his hand and slapping his back. Has our paranoia reached such heights that merely speaking about what we do at work is ethically wrong?

     

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      identicon
      Rather not say, Dec 21st, 2008 @ 7:46am

      Re: Huh

      and while 1 hand slaps your back the foot kicks you in the ass. WFM treats it's employess ufairly, they can say the public line of how highly rated of a company they are, but having worked there I can tell you it's a front & a bad one at that

       

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  •  

    Just covering all their bases

    I think it's just a legal maneuver to cover future possible problems. I also agree with niftyswell that you make your own life, regardless of your past situations.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Michael E. Rubin, GasPedal, Nov 8th, 2007 @ 7:02am

    Whole Foods misses the point

    What an utterly ridiculous thing to do. When they need to be communicating directly with fans and advocates more than ever (real conversation), they shut themselves off to the world.

    Here's a better idea: Train your employees to participate the right way.

    More here:
    http://www.damniwish.com/2007/11/whole-foods-mis.html

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Paul Costanzi, Sep 14th, 2008 @ 2:37pm

    Whole Foods and Policies

     

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      identicon
      Paul Costanzi, Sep 14th, 2008 @ 2:42pm

      Re: Whole Foods and Policies

      Being a former employee of Whole Foods I saw first hand how ignorant and defamatory Leaders are. Being separated and not being able to defend myself AT ALL I felt like I was being discriminated against. I wasn't even allowed to hear or read any comments I was allegedly accused for.

      Whole Foods may be a nice store to shop, but to work there is like working for a dictatorship. One slightest infraction and you are gone...no questions, not judge, jury or court. Just a noose.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Supplements from Foods, Feb 21st, 2009 @ 5:25am

    Whole Foods Board Decides Common Sense Ain't Common Enough: Bans Execs From Web Postings

    A Canadian company, Naturally Nova Scotia, makes supplements from foods instead of synthetics. The have vitamin C from fruit, herbal tinctures, green drinks, vitamin D3, and others.
    Supplements from Foods

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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