Everything changed for Glenn Mack Jr. when his supervisor at Whole Foods found out he's Muslim.
Glenn had been a rising star at Whole Foods, recruited to work in a prestigious Philadelphia store and even winning a special meeting with the company's CEO. But when his supervisor found out Glenn would be spending his vacation making pilgrimage to Mecca -- for which vacation time was approved months in advance without any questions -- his boss suddenly had a change of heart.
"You can choose. It's either your job or your religion," Glenn was told. He was subsequently demoted, harassed and wrongfully terminated in November.
Whole Foods actually has a zero-tolerance discrimination policy and says on its website that "supporting team member happiness and excellence" is one of its seven core values. So the chronology of Glenn's mistreatment by the self-styled home for forward-thinking shoppers is like a slap in the face:
Glenn returned from his vacation demoted to part-time status and stripped of all his benefits -- even health care. He complained to HR, and got only harassment in response. When he would use his off-the-clock breaks for 5-minute prayers, he was heckled and suffered anti-Muslim comments to the point that he had to pray next to the dumpsters. When Glenn was finally fired, it was for absenteeism -- something he had not been approached about before.
Glenn's mistreatment completely clashes with what Whole Foods says it stands for. He thinks that maybe that's why the company has basically chosen to ignore his harassment, perhaps hoping others will, too. But if customers tell Whole Foods that they won't stand for religious discrimination and that they want Glenn back on the job, the company will have to act.