This week, a lot of people have been talking about the story of the former Team Member who says that he lost his job over a tuna sandwich. The story, as reported by various blogs and media outlets, was pretty inflammatory. We'd like to respond to the extent we can.   Unfortunately, although former Team Members are free to make any accusations they want, we consider employment records of current and former Team Members to be confidential.   We can, however, talk about some of our general policies that apply to the statements made by this former Team Member. For example, some people have been very upset that it sounds like we throw away leftover food instead of donating it. In reality, we work with food banks and community kitchens all over the country to donate food. In New York City alone, our stores have donated more than 125,000 pounds of food in the last two years to City Harvest. We offer them all our leftover food that meets their standards. Our stores have several pick-ups each week, which they deliver free to more than 600 community food programs throughout the city. For instance, we set aside produce, dry goods, and prepared foods like day-old sandwiches for pickup by City Harvest.   Another issue that's been questioned is firing someone with no previous disciplinary record. That, too, is a misconception and is not our policy. Except in cases of egregious offenses, Team Members receive a series of corrective action statements or written reviews. These offenses are clearly communicated to Team Members in both training and written policy. Team Members acknowledge with their signatures all of our policies, in writing.     We have an open door policy which allows Team Members to address concerns with anyone at the company. We also have an informal mediation process our Team Members can use for conflict resolution. And if a Team Member doesn't agree with being let go, they can request a Fair Hearing from our Team Member Services group, and a further Peer Review before a panel of Team Members from other stores.   Also, we encourage our Team Members to sample our food, in addition to giving everyone a 20% discount on purchases. We have a great sampling policy that encourages our Team Members and customers to try our many different products. Our Team Members are aware that any samples they take need a supervisor's approval so that the sample can be documented for food safety and financial reasons. Sample sizes are standard and are meant to provide tasting experiences, not meals, to Team Members and customers.


 Thanks for reading this side of the story, and we hope to see you in our stores soon!