Store Requiring Employees to Shop There

First off, the disclaimers: You are not my lawyer, the information you provide here is for general research purposes only, and I am not going to act upon your information in a legal proceeding.

My daughter lives and works in Missouri. She works at a small grocery chain. Let’s call it “George’s Grocery”. I don’t have all the details yet, but she told me that management has said that store employees are only allowed to shop at George’s Grocery.

Is this even remotely legal? I can almost see where a store might say, “You can’t shop at Walter’s Market while wearing your George’s Grocery uniform,” but then I thought, “Wait a minute … we still live in a free society.”

I thought “company towns” went out of favor a number of years ago.

Any thoughts on this, legal-eagle dopers?

Is she being paind in company script?

There are variations of this kind of thing that can be legal. It usually revolves around employee contracts. For instance, a car company (I forget if it was GM, Ford or Chrystler) used to require that its executives only drive cars made by that company. So the rumour got around everyone who worked there had to. But it only applied to the execs and it was in their employment contract.

Or on the flip side, many unions put in their contracts with their members they cannot shop in non-union stores. My brother in the 70s worked at Eagle Grocery Stores (then owned by Lucky Grocery Stores) and it said in the union contract that if you shopped at a non-union grocery store, you could be thrown out of the union. Of course if you weren’t in the union, you couldn’t work at the store.

I would think it would be hard pressed to come up with any justification to requre someone to shop somewhere unless it was a union type thing or an individual employee contract. Even then it’d be hard to enforce unless there’s a good reason for it

Unless it’s in her contract, I highly doubt it.

Why is it acceptable if it’s a union type thing, but unacceptable for the store to have that as a general condition for its employees?

On what basis?

If the store is in an at-will state, on what legal basis do you believe an employee would have a remedy if he were fired for shopping elsewhere?

A union type thing (contract) wouldn’t be any different than an individual employee contract, would it?
Anyway, I don’t think companies can do that around here (California). I work for Chevron, and they can’t tell us where to buy gas. They don’t even try.

I can’t answer the OP directly but

It’s “scrip”

I worked for Ford 1979-83. Anybody from section managers on up were given a lease car, including maintenance, as a benefit. At some level you got two cars. I think you got the cars for 1 or 2 years. Why drive any other car when you can drive a Ford for free? I didn’t know any upper-level executives so I don’t know if they were prohibited from driving a non-Ford car. But I worked with a woman whose husband had a job in World Headquarters (don’t know if he was an exec) and he could not drive his 1960’s classic Corvette to work because it was not a Ford. That didn’t mean he couldn’t drive it anywhere else, though.

Because unions aren’t employers? They are more akin to clubs that you join for some kind of benefit, and as such they can include or exclude anyone they want. An employer provided job confers some protections.

I read that the Corvette held a very special place in Ford’s corporate heart.
No cite.

There’s a vast difference in how corporations and small business exercise their “at-will” rights. Corporations carefully set procedures by which managers can fire an employee. They can’t do the Donald Trump thing. Small business owners can.
Corporations don’t want troublesome lawsuits because some low-level manager fired an employee for dating that manager’s daughter.
Generally speaking, of course.

Is there a reason she wouldn’t want to shop where she works? I work for a retail company and try to shop in our stores as often as I can… after all, more sales equals more job security, bigger bonuses, etc.

But in many places, you have to join the union to work at the job. Some club.

And employers can hire anyone they want, and exclude anyone they don’t want, at least to the same extent that unions can.

I never worked for an auto company, but I heard tales of them requiring cars from not-the-big-three (IIRC, but it might have just been any other auto company) having to be parked in the “far” parts of the parking lot.

Also, I bought my first car, a 1982 Toyota Carolla, from someone in management at Chrysler. I bought it in 1985. It was the wife’s car, and he said they liked it, but he got bad looks on the occasions he had to drive it into work.

For some, there’s a big difference between wanting to do a thing and being compelled to do it. I buy gas at my company’s branded stations because it contains stuff that I know is good for my car’s fuel system. I don’t know what’s in Rotten Robbie’s product.
BobArrgh’s daughter may actually prefer George’s products. That’s her business.

If it’s a minimum wage employee, it could possibly be argued that the employer is effectively circumventing minimum wage laws given that the employee must purchase groceries to survive and the employer is forcing the employee to purchase potentially higher cost items from them effectively transferring back some of the pay (in the form of profit) to the employer.

Only lawyers can make that kind of arguement. :stuck_out_tongue:
But that’s exactly what mining companies in the coal belt and farmers in central California (and others) used to do.

In 1980 I bought a Mazda GLC and nobody looked at me twice. However, I was a software geek and they kind of left us alone, put us in a different building :slight_smile: That would not have gone over big at HQ, or in a factory parking lot with union workers where there were signs posted telling people to park their imports elsewhere. (Also, Ford owned 25% of Mazda at the time, IIRC, and sold a Mazda pickup under a Ford nameplate. That’s when the lines started to blur about the definition of “import.”)

There is a policy similar to that in the OP at one of the accounting firms in my hometown (population 28,000, so there’s the small-town mentality thing to consider here). This firm requires that all employees buy cars from local dealers, and will fire and have fired employees for driving the two hours to a much larger town where it is possible to get a much better deal. As far as I know, it is legal since the firm is a private partnership and employment is at will.

ETA: One of the many reasons I don’t live there anymore is the “commercial xenophobia” that small, southwestern towns have.

She’s not going to get any kind of discount on groceries. Certainly not any staples. As to why she would want to shop elsewhere who’s to say that her employer’s competitors don’t have lower prices, better selection, or better customer service.