It’s hard to watch someone openly crying and hurting! Last week, a lady who worked in the health products at my local Earth Fare had just found out that all 40 Earth Fares covering ten states were closing. It was obviously a traumatic experience for her as tears rolled down her eyes, and her face was red from her grief. I went to our Westgate Earth Fare to purchase groceries and health products when I noticed this lady’s pain. I spoke to her and wished her a brighter future, and she gave me a small smile. This new revelation affected about 3,00 employees.
Is this fair to the employees who have bills to pay, mouths to feed, and need insurance benefits that cover health matters? A class-action lawsuit has been filed by Earth Fare employees. The suit claims that Earth Fare violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act by not giving employees a 60-day notice. Earth Fare claims that all its employees have been notified of the upcoming closure of the company’s store and corporate office.
Ok—the company faltered financially. But, what does a lack of engagement and leadership convey on behalf of Earth Fare? Other companies have closed. For example, a former local Asheville company called Square D ensured that their employees were able to retrain before their closure. I met several of the employees who were able to obtain an associate’s college degree so they could find suitable work. That is an example of leadership, engagement, loyalty, and trust. It benefitted employees and employers.
There are Gallup polls and other statistics on the internet that state up to 87% of employees don’t feel engaged. Surprised? I am not. After working 29 years in the field of Human Resources, I have seen a lot of dissatisfied employees and let’s be fair…employers. The impact on Earth Fare employees is significant. Depending on how long they have worked, they may qualify for unemployment. However, that may not give them health benefits if needed. If someone is unable to pay for medical care or medicine, they are going to have to look far and wide for help.
Are we on a downward spiral with civility and engagement in the United States? I think so. It’s time to do the right thing and take care of the people while fulfilling the goals of a company. All employees deserve fair treatment in the workplace. Just think of how the employees could have planned a lay off in 60 days if Earth Fare had given them notice of their closing. No wonder there is a disconnect with many employees and employers. It’s time for turn-around and employers to act like leaders, not managers.
I believe that employees and employers deserve safe and respectful work environments. Be sure to check out more of my articles at https://goodmenproject.com/author/consultwithdawngmail-com
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