Evan and Kroger CEO

The wrongful death case of a Cincinnati-area Kroger employee Evan Seyfried, who took his own life, will go forward, ruled a judge. The future trial could reveal the level and intensity of politically motivated bullying Evan faced before he passed in March of 2021. 

Evan’s family says two managers at Kroger targeted the 40-year-old assistant manager because he wore a mask. They also nicknamed him “Antifa” and encouraged Evan’s co-workers to do the same. Evan had no prior history of mental illness, and, by all accounts, was popular and well-liked by his co-workers.

Kroger, which now rivals Walmart in size and profit, tried to have the case dismissed arguing there’s a “Suicide Rule” in Ohio. It prevents legal blame being placed on a company, institution or even a person, for death caused by suicide. It’s a pro-Robber Barons law if there ever was one, and the Seyfried family is seeking to challenge the rule.

“We are pleased with this result. We look forward to fully uncovering the unconscionable conduct from Kroger and getting the family the justice they deserve,” said Austin LiPuma to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the attorney representing Evan Seyfried’s family in a statement.

The harassment continued outside of work. Evan was followed home, strange cars were parked outside his residence, and child porn was texted to his phone, contends the suit.

Also disturbing is how Evan’s union – UFCW 75, representing the Cincinnati area – responded to several grievances he had filed. According to the World Socialist Web Site, UFCW 75 sat on Evan’s complaints and didn’t act.

Evan’s dad believes Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen – a Trump confidant – is also to blame for his son’s tragic death. Ken Seyfried says McMullen, who took over as CEO in 2014, changed the work culture at Kroger. A culture change that’s given Kroger corporate and its shareholders billions in profits.   

“Back in 2014 and 2015, he began sharing with his mother and I how things were beginning to change at Kroger,” said Ken Seyfried to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “More emphasis was being put on productivity. Getting more out of your people. Getting more out of your hours. Cutting hours. Being more efficient. Some of the store managers were starting to leave who were considered too soft on the people.”

As the years progressed, the pressures became worse for Evan as he helped run the dairy department. As more was asked of Evan, it became tougher for him to go into work. This is something the Free Press has heard repeatedly from central Ohio Kroger workers, particularly since the onset of the pandemic.

The irony is the pandemic proved the public is far more dependent on the grocery store worker than once perceived. Yet Kroger’s corporate leadership, board members, and large shareholders made a killing off them during the pandemic. CEO McMullen, who made $18 million in 2021, recently announced to shareholders of a $1.7 billion profit for 2021.

Many of the workers who put food on our tables are dedicated to their job and especially their customers. Their fight for higher wages and greater respect has never seemed more passionate, and that’s what Evan Seyfried’s legacy is about.

As one of our Kroger friends told us recently, “They need to treat us better or I’m looking elsewhere.”