Whole Foods Fires 9 Managers for Manipulating Bonus Program

Natural foods retailer Whole Foods Market has terminated nine managers at stores in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., for manipulating a store bonus program.

The Austin, Texas-based grocer fired the managers, employed at nine Whole Foods stores, for manipulating its “Gainsharing program,” which awards bonuses to employees whose departments come in under budget, The Washington Post reported. Details on the nature of the incident or which locations were affected were not disclosed, although the company assured that it was isolated to a relatively small number of its 457 stores.

“We took swift action, but, relative to the rest of the company, this manipulation only happened in nine of our locations,” spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said.

Although CEO John Mackey has expressed support for the program – noting in 2004 that as productivity increases, all people at Whole Foods stores make more money – critics deride “Gainsharing” programs as a way for companies to identify ways to cut labor costs and reward workers in the short term while potentially eliminating jobs in the long term.

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