A grocery store employee claimed that he was fired six days into his job because he refused to work one day a week.
Noah Grice, a 22-year-old graphic designer and cashier who recently relocated from Nebraska to Michigan, said he recently started working at a “large national grocery store chain.” He did not name the chain in a Reddit post on Sunday, which received 7,400 votes by Monday morning.
Grice said the job paid $12.50 per hour, which was less than his previous cashier job in Nebraska, but he decided to take it because he was living on savings and lived only 1.5 miles from the store. On August 11, he began his new job. He was fired six days later.
This comes at a time when many businesses are reporting difficulty retaining employees as a result of the Great Resignation. According to Forbes, this is due in part to employees’ confidence in changing jobs. And they’re changing jobs primarily due to burnout.
On August 17, the ex-employee stated that his manager requested his availability. He responded that he was available from noon to close Monday through Saturday. That didn’t go down well with the manager, who asked if he could work on Sunday.
“I told her that was the only day of the week I couldn’t come in, but I’d be happy to come in any other time,” Grice explained. Later, he inquired of his coworkers whether they were required to work on Sundays. Some said they worked Sunday shifts voluntarily, but not under duress.
Grice was then summoned to an office alongside his boss and two other managers. His boss inquired once more about his ability to work on Sundays.
“I told her no, that it was my only dedicated day off to relax and do chores—when, realistically, what I do on my day off is none of her business,” Grice explained. “For all she knows, I could have Sunday college classes or a religious exemption, but she was dissatisfied with my response.”
The manager then proceeded to “guilt-trip” Grice, saying, “EVERYONE works Sundays. That includes me. It’s our busiest day of the week and I need all hands-on deck. I have a family, and grandkids, and I’m here bright and early Sunday morning with a smile on my face.”
Finally, she is quoted as saying, “If you are unable to work on Sundays, you are not a viable asset to our company, and it is not worth continuing with you here. Today is your last day.”
Despite the fact that America’s large grocery chains boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic, their essential workers on the frontlines continued to earn low wages and work in hazardous conditions. According to a company wage tracker published in April by the Economic Policy Institute and the Shift Project, many of the largest, most profitable grocery stores, including Aldi, Kroger, Safeway, and Walmart, pay many of their workers less than $15 an hour.
Kroger, which made $132.4 billion in revenue and paid its CEO $18 million in 2021, paid less than $15 an hour to 48 percent of its employees. At Walmart, 51% of employees earned less than $15 per hour, despite the company’s $556.9 billion in annual revenue and the CEO’s $34 million salary.
Grice stated that he later spoke with a union representative, who stated that the manager had fired him outside of her authority. The union representative allegedly told Grice that she could re-hire him with a phone call. The ex-employee, on the other hand, stated that he was not interested.
“I told her I do not want to work somewhere where I can expect to be treated this way, and with no respect for my boundaries or work-life balance,” he said.