Whole Foods Is Sued in Nationwide Class Action for ‘Disciplining Workers and Firing One Employee for Wearing Black Lives Matter Face Masks’
Reuters and Marlene Lenthang, Daily Mail, July 20, 2020
Whole Foods is being sued by employees who say the grocery retailer disciplined and retaliated against them for wearing ‘Black Lives Matter‘ face masks on the job, including one who said she was fired.
The proposed nationwide class action was filed on Monday in US District Court in Boston.
It accuses the organic grocer of sending employees home without pay or threatening to fire them for wearing the masks, claiming it violated the company’s dress code.
However, staffers wearing masks conveying other messages were allowed to continue doing so, according to the lawsuit.
The 14 plaintiffs include Whole Foods employees in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, California and Washington state. The staffers come from several racial and ethnic backgrounds.
One plaintiff, Savannah Kinzer, said she was fired on Saturday after organizing co-workers to wear Black Lives Matter masks and protest Whole Foods’ discipline.
Employee Charles Thompson said he was written up for wearing an ‘I Can’t Breathe’ mask last month. He participated in a protest with fellow co-workers outside the South Lake Union Whole Foods in Seattle, Washington on June 25.
A spokesperson for Whole Foods, which is a unit of Amazon.com Inc, declined to comment on the lawsuit.