Lacoste fires a clerk who mocked paycheck online

A Manhattan worker gets the boot after foolishly posting his wages to Instagram and complaining about the city's cost of living.

By Jason Notte Aug 8, 2013 2:45PM
Wade Groom's Instagram post of his Lacoste paycheck (© wade333 via Instagram)When Brooklyn meets Manhattan, it's rarely pretty, but here's a bit of advice for workers making their way over the river: When fast-food employees in your town are protesting just to get $15 an hour, posting your paycheck for wages earned at that rate on the Internet and mocking it isn't the best way to earn sympathy.

In the case of a former sales clerk at apparel chain Lacoste's flagship store on Fifth Avenue, doing that was enough to cost him his job.

According to Gothamist, Brooklyn resident Wade Groom was fired by Lacoste after putting a picture of his paycheck on Instagram and said this about it:

"Paycheck. Still silly to me. Ever since I was a kid, I've thought it was completely insane that we have to work all of our lives. I still feel that way. Especially when it's only enough to live in a third world apartment. . . . I'm done with it."

Yes, he is. Although Groom claimed the post "had nothing to do with the money" he was making, two weeks later, his manager approached him at work and invited him to a sit-down with company representatives. Up to that point, Groom had been making $15 an hour plus 3% commission, which earned him as much as $1,500 a week selling $39,315 worth of merchandise.

"The bossman called me downstairs and told me to get on a conference call with an HR manager," Groom told Gothamist. "The HR manager told me that the image somehow got back to the corporate office, and that it infringes our confidentiality agreement, and that I was fired."

When he "just clicked 'accept terms' on that" agreement, he'd basically made his company-related social media postings a termination offense. Although Groom had worked briefly at Saks Fifth Avenue before arriving at Lacoste, his corporate experience had been minimal to that point. His previous gig involved running a neighborhood play space for kids with the mother of his two children.

It earned Groom features in Time Out New York and the New York Post but didn't keep him from selling the business and looking for new work.

Unfortunately for Groom, he went job hunting in a U.S. labor market in which the most common job is that of a $25,000-a-year retail salesperson. Though the economy has recovered 5.7 million of the 8.7 million jobs shed during the recession, roughly 65% of them have been of the low-wage variety. Unfortunately, the National Employment Law Project says nearly 60% of all jobs lost during the recession paid middle-income wages or better.

While Groom's claims may hold some merit, including his assertion that "a stern warning would have been more appropriate" than his firing, the current economy tilts heavily in favor of the employers. While striking fast-food employees and union-backed discount store workers are making headway, this is a bad time to gripe about your paycheck in public.

"I'm not a corporate type person, I'm an artist and a musician. If you met me you'd never guess in a million years that I worked at Lacoste," Groom said. "But I'm a helluva salesman."

Unfortunately for Groom, the current climate prizes the latter far more than the former.

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Aug 8, 2013 5:03PM
Hire a baby-boomer, not gen x'ers... you'll get better performance and less entitlement. Don't hire anyone less than 30...
Aug 8, 2013 3:27PM

Move out of that rat trap, flea infested apartment into a nice midwest town.

Nice pace, nice people,nice money, nice internet(whatever that is).

I think it's time!!  Don't you?

Lot's of salemen make it in these parts.


Aug 8, 2013 8:48PM
Are you effing kidding me?! This idiot is complaining about making $15 an hour plus 3% commission (about $1,500 a week) & there's people out there dying to get a job where there aren't any jobs?!?!? WTF is wrong with people!?  I'm glad his ungrateful **** got fired! Give that job to someone whom will appreciate it!
Aug 8, 2013 8:23PM
Well Now! Dont bite the hand that feeds ya! Looks like there is an opening!
Aug 8, 2013 5:27PM
    If nobody worked, nobody would live. We need workers, period. 


Aug 8, 2013 3:47PM

It's the sort of thing you've got to admit isn't so much nutty as ****, and only for those who really will put their money where their mouth is.


Puts me in mind of Larry Flynt, in front of the Supreme Court justices, from his wheelchair flipping the robed wonders the finger.


Sweet . . ..

Aug 8, 2013 11:43PM
He should take a picture of his new paycheck next to his old paycheck and post that:-)

Well, that was pretty dumb.  So is going to the media.  Good luck finding a job now fella.  Good thing he has a name that's hard to remember.

It has nothing to do with telling the world that he's underpaid and embarrassing his employer either.  There are other employees there that will read about what he makes and go ask for more money based on it.  All employers have rules against announcing your pay to fellow employees for that very reason.

There are many, far better places to live and work than NYC though, but just try telling that to New Yorkers.


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