Mass., N.H. AGs to Market Basket: Follow the Law When You Fire People

The attorneys general of Massachusetts and New Hampshire sent a joint letter Thursday to Market Basket co-CEOs Felicia Thornton and James Gooch, spelling out employment laws in the two states about wages owed to fired employees.

“We are keenly aware of recent reports that Market Basket has terminated a number of employees and of reports today that more workers may face termination and replacement in the coming days,” Martha Coakley, of Massachusetts, and Joseph Foster, of New Hampshire, wrote.

“Whatever decisions you make in the coming days, needless to say our offices expect and will require compliance with our respective laws,” they added.

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Market Basket is advertising positions as it urges its employees to return to work by August 4. It has said it expects some employees not to heed that call as employee protests and a customer boycott to reinstall former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas continue to stall the company’s normal operations.

Thornton and Gooch responded with a statement to the press, saying:

“We have said several times that we hope sincerely that we do not discharge any employees. We want our associates back. We are focused solely on getting Market Basket stores back up and running for our customers and, importantly, for the many local vendors that rely on Market Basket to make their own businesses successful for the sake of their employees. We respect the Attorneys General position, and would of course follow all applicable laws.”

Coakley, who is running for governor of Massachusetts, is among the many politicians to have voiced support for Market Basket employees as events have unfolded across the company in the last two weeks.

A group of customers has raised more than $10,000 to publish a full-page ad in the Lowell Sun this weekend, telling the executives and the company’s board of directors they intend to continue to boycott.

The full letter from the attorneys general:

Check out more coverage of the Market Basket saga.