A 19-year-old Black woman is calling for the public to boycott Whataburger after she filed a discrimination complaint against the company this week, claiming the company forced her out of her job last month because she wore a “Black Lives Matter” mask.
Ma’Kiya Congious, 19, was working at an East Fort Worth, Texas, location of the popular regional chain on Aug. 4 when a white customer complained about her face mask, which bore the phrase “Black Lives Matter” along with a fist, reports The Washington Post. It wasn’t the first time Congious, who had been employed at the restaurant since May, had worn the mask. On a prior shift, several customers from the historically Black neighborhood complimented her on the mask. Congious, who spoke to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, said the chain’s district manager even greeted her in the parking lot while she was wearing the mask, and said nothing of it.
But after the white customer threatened to call Whataburger’s corporate office about her BLM mask, the restaurant manager, alongside two higher-ranking district managers, told her the mask violated the company’s policy.
“Whataburger wants you to wear a mask that has no opinions whatsoever on them,” the manager said in a video recording taken by Congious and shared with the Star-Telegram. “You’re entitled to your personal opinions, that’s fine. But at Whataburger, we don’t want to portray them because some people may be offended. This is a big business. ... Whataburger doesn’t want to get into anything political because we’re just hamburgers and fries.”
Congious and another person on the recording pushed back on “Black Lives Matter” being viewed as an opinion, particularly in the context of the neighborhood they were in.
On a recording of the interaction, Congious asks if she can put in her two-weeks notice.
“You know what, we accept it, and you don’t have to come back at all,” the manager responds.
When Congious clarified that she still wanted to work the next two weeks, two managers pushed back.
“We’re saying you don’t have to [work the two weeks]. We’re taking it as of today. Yeah, you’re done and I appreciate you doing that, so thank you,” said the manager, who then told Congious to clock out.