Whole Foods Market is under fire for allegedly banning employees from wearing Black Lives Matter masks and punishing those who broke the rule.
US labor board prosecutors are now claiming that the grocery chain broke the law by banning the controversial masks.
According to a report from Bloomberg, the grocery chain had appearance rules that prohibited the inflammatory masks and other BLM apparell from being worn by employees at US locations.
Bloomberg reports, “the National Labor Relations Board’s San Francisco regional director wrote in a complaint issued Friday on behalf of the agency’s general counsel. The filing also accuses the company of firing, sending home and otherwise punishing employees around the country during 2020 for wearing apparel such as BLM masks or pins.”
“Our dress code policy is designed to ensure we are giving Team Members a workplace and customers a shopping experience focused entirely on excellent service and high-quality food,” Whole Foods said in a statement. “We do not believe we should compromise that experience by introducing any messages on uniforms, regardless of the content, that shift the focus away from our mission.”
According to the complaint, employees in California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, Washington and Indiana were all told not to wear the slogans to work.
The complaint against Whole Foods claims that by “banning Black Lives Matter messages, was restricting employees from exercising their legal rights to participate ‘in concerted activities for their mutual aid and protection.’”
“Issues of racial harassment and discrimination are central to employees’ working conditions, and the National Labor Relations Act protects employees’ right to advocate for change,” Jill Coffman, the NLRB regional director in San Francisco, said in a statement. “Through this complaint, we seek to enforce the act and protect workers’ rights to speak up about these important issues.”
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