ACLU files complaint against Whole Foods
Austin, Texas – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico is filing a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Bureau against Whole Foods Market on behalf of two Spanish-speaking employees.
The employees allege that in June 2013 a Whole Foods store in Albuquerque suspended them for a day for complaining about a company policy they say prevented them from speaking Spanish on the job. Both employees said they are still prevented from speaking Spanish.
Whole Foods has not formally addressed the complaint yet, but a spokesperson told the Associated Press the company has changed its rules about speaking Spanish on the job, is educating all employees and managers across the company about the new rules and has a zero tolerance policy for discrimination.
Gary Friedman back as chairman, co-CEO of Restoration Hardware
Corte Madera, Calif. – Restoration Hardware Holdings announced that Gary Friedman has been reappointed co-CEO and chairman, effective immediately. Friedman will return to his prior role at the company alongside Carlos Alberini, who has also been named co-CEO. The retailer, now calling itself RH, also said it has acquired the full rights to Friedman’s new venture, Hierarchy, which it will rebrand as RH Atelier.
Friedman stepped down from Restoration last October, reportedly after the board determined that he had had an inappropriate relationship with a female employee. However, the company never commented on the reasons for his departure and subsequently gave Friedman the title of chairman emeritus, creator and curator.
“I am honored to be rejoining Carlos, and the entire RH team in our quest to create the most innovative and inspiring brand in the industry,” Friedman stated. “This team’s ability to curate and integrate new products, businesses and experiences, then scale them across our multi-channel platform has enabled us to build one of the fastest growing brands in the marketplace.”
Restoration said that the Hierarchy concept will focus on the development of luxury apparel, accessories, footwear and jewelry, and be integrated and launched on the company’s platform.
Friedman served as chairman and Co-CEO of Restoration Hardware from June 2010 to October 2012 and served as CEO since March 2001.
Prior to joining the company, Friedman spent 13 years at Williams-Sonoma, Inc., where he served as president and COO from 2000 to 2001, as CMO and president of retail stores from 1995 to 2000 and as executive VP of the company and president of the Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn brands from 1993 to 1995.
Previously, Friedman spent 11 years with The Gap, Inc. in various leadership positions.
Bob’s Stores/EMS parent names Petty CEO
Meriden, Conn. – Vestis Retail Group, parent company of Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), has named James Petty as CEO effective July 8, 2013. Petty most recently served as president of retail stores for Cartier Inc. from 2007 to December 2012 and left the company after it relocated its retail group headquarters from Connecticut to Georgia. He also previously held executive positions at Limited Too and Gap Inc.
He replaces current Vestis CEO Mark Walsh who also serves as a managing director of Versa Capital Management, the private equity firm that owns Vestis. Walsh will remain as chairman of Vestis.
"This is a long-planned and natural leadership transition at this stage of Vestis’s development," said Gregory Segall, CEO of Versa. "Over the past five years, Mark has done a tremendous job in realizing the potential at Bob’s and he led the acquisition and initial transformation at EMS, positioning it for growth. We’re looking forward to Mark’s contributions to our existing and future investments in the Versa portfolio of companies."