Trader Joe’s employee claims he was fired for suggesting better protection against Covid-19

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A former employee of Trader Joe’s claims he was fired after writing a letter suggesting ways the grocery chain could improve its COVID-19 protections for workers.

Ben Bonnema, who worked for a Trader Joe’s store in New York City’s Upper West Side, shared the letter on Twitter, describing ways the company can bolster protocols protecting its employees.

Changes suggested in the letter included improving air filtration within stores, limiting store capacity based on carbon dioxide levels, not allowing anyone in stores without a mask, and adopting a “3 strikes” policy for shoppers who don’t obey the rules.

In a subsequent tweet, Bonnema shared what appears to be a crew member incident report from Trader Joe’s detailing his termination. “Trader joe’s just fired me for sending this letter to the CEO, saying I don’t share the company values,” wrote Bonnema. “I guess advocating for a safer workplace isn’t a company value?”

In a statement emailed to USA TODAY, Trader Joe’s spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel characterizes the claims as “misinformation“. “During his short tenure with Trader Joe’s, this Crew Member’s suggestions were listened to and appropriately addressed,” reads a portion of the statement. “Store leadership terminated this Crew Member’s employment because of the disrespect he showed toward our customers. We never have, and would never, terminate a Crew Member’s employment for raising safety concerns.”

Bonnema’s lawyer, Benjamin Dictor, said in a statement to Buzzfeed that he plans to present his case before the National Labor Relations Board.


Kris Paterson is a writer for the global job search engine

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