Threatened By a Former Employer- Am I On To Something?

Recently I wrote a post about inspections in New York City grocers, and how their inspection criteria are different from restaurant criteria. I mentioned the lack of controls on foods like rice and dairy, and their allowable time at room temperature. I called for a change to these inspection standards, as they are just as dangerous in a grocery or deli as they are in a restaurant. No mention of any specific business was made.

Today, I went to collect an outstanding check from my previous employer, where I was made to sign a document preventing me from using any recipes, etc, from their establishment in a different job- and was immediately threatened with legal action should I choose to write about their business. I attempted to explain I did not intend to use the name of the business in my article, nor did I obtain any quotes, and was then accused of entering into employment with false pretenses. I was accused of plotting “slander,” which any self-respecting writer knows, is libel in print.

Basically, he said he would sue me if I wrote about the unsanitary practices in his business.

I think I’m on to something here. Despite weeks of attempting to remedy conditions, getting my own hands dirty in organization and going beyond my job description, this business owner would rather sue someone than try to fix his sanitation issues. When I asked for ingredient labels for the products he was selling, to ascertain their danger level, I was given the cold shoulder.

Gourmet groceries are places where people are offered a place to sit, eat, and relax, exactly the same as a small cafe or restaurant. Why should they be exempt from the rules that protect people dining in a restaurant? Definitely will be researching this topic further.


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