Workers at Whole Foods are suing the supermarket company for punishing workers for wearing Black Lives Matter masks.
The class-action lawsuit was filed in Massachusetts on behalf of employees at Whole Foods stores in California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Washington State. They claimed Whole Foods fired one employee and disciplined others who were showing their solidarity with the racial justice movement by wearing Black Lives Matter masks. The suit calls upon the court to strike down Whole Foods’ policy and bar the company from further retaliating against their workers.
Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon, responded in a statement asserting that employees “must comply with our longstanding company dress code, which prohibits any visible slogans, messages, logos or advertising that are not company-related, on any article of clothing.”
But the plaintiffs argue that the company has allowed other messages on employees’ attire, including rainbow pins and flags to support LGBTQ+ rights, and sports team names and logos.
Shannon Liss-Riordan, the lead attorney in the lawsuit against Whole Foods, said the company “selectively and arbitrarily” enforced the dress code to specifically suppress the Black Lives Matter message.
Last month, Starbuck came under fire for not letting employees wear Black Lives Matter clothing or accessories because it could be “misunderstood and potentially incite violence.” Starbucks, along with other companies like Taco Bell, has since broadened its policies to allow Black Lives Matter apparel to be worn at work.
Read our coverage of the fight for racial justice across the country and why racism and the killings of Black Americans is a public health crisis.
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