A group of Whole Foods Market employees have filed a federal class action lawsuit against the grocery company, accusing them of discrimination and retaliation against employees who wore Black Lives Matter face masks following the death of George Floyd and subsequent protests. According to the lawsuit, workers who wore such masks were threatened with termination, sent home without pay, and disciplined.
Whole Foods has a longstanding company dress code, which "prohibits any visible slogans, messages, logos or advertising that are not company-related, on any article of clothing," a spokesperson for the company explained to Delish. Several Whole Foods workers from a Cambridge, MA, location told The Boston Globe that employees have worn rainbow pins and flags, as well as sports team logos with their work uniforms in the past with no issue.
One employee, Savannah Kinzer, said she was fired after deciding to walk off the job instead of removing her Black Lives Matter mask. The paper reported that this incident combined with other infractions led to her accumulating disciplinary points which resulted in the firing. A spokesperson for Whole Foods said she was fired solely due to time and attendance policy violations. In a statement to Delish, a Whole Foods spokesperson elaborated:
While we cannot comment on pending litigation, it is critical to clarify that no Team Members have been terminated for wearing Black Lives Matter face masks or apparel. Savannah Kinzer was separated from the company for repeatedly violating our Time & Attendance policy by not working her assigned shifts, reporting late for work multiple times in the past nine days and choosing to leave during her scheduled shifts. It is simply untrue that she was separated from the company for wearing a Black Lives Matter face mask. As an employer we must uphold our policies in an equitable and consistent manner. Savannah had full understanding of our policies and was given a number of opportunities to comply.
Savannah Kinzer is one of 14 plaintiffs named in the suit.
You Might Also Like