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HomenewsBlack Lives Matter Masks Suit Against Whole Foods Workers is Dismissed by...

Black Lives Matter Masks Suit Against Whole Foods Workers is Dismissed by the Judge

Three former Whole Foods employees claimed they were wrongfully fired for objecting to the premium grocery chain’s purportedly discriminatory treatment of employees who were wearing Black Lives Matter masks. A federal court dismissed their claim on Monday.

In a 28-page decision, U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs in Boston found little evidence to challenge Whole Foods’ “legitimate business explanations” for strictly enforcing the dress code and no convincing proof the plaintiffs were specifically targeted when they were fired in the summer of 2020.

The evidence simply shows that Whole Foods did not strictly police the dress code guideline until about the middle of 2020 and that when it did, it did so consistently.

The dress code at Whole Foods, a subsidiary of Inc., has long been upheld as being consistently enforced to foster a friendly and secure shopping environment. The policy also included apparent slogans, logos, and advertisements.
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This ruling has nothing to do with the significance of the Black Lives Matter movement, the importance of the plaintiffs’ advocacy in donning the masks, the courage with which they spoke out against what they believed to be discrimination at work or the effectiveness of Whole Foods’ decision-making, according to Burroughs.

Haley Evans, Savannah Kinzer, and Christopher Michno, three ex-employees, could not assert protection from retaliation under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to Burroughs.

Requests for comment from the plaintiffs’ attorneys were not immediately fulfilled. Similar requests did not immediately receive a response from Whole Foods.

'Black Lives Matter' Masks Suit Against Whole Foods Workers is Dismissed by the Judge

For slightly different legal reasons than her own, the federal appeals court in Boston upheld Burroughs’ dismissal of a proposed class action lawsuit regarding the clothing code in February 2021.

After several Black persons were killed by police in the US, the Black Lives Matter movement was born. National demonstrations against racial injustice were prompted by a video showing the May 2020 shooting death of George Floyd by a police officer.
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Evans previously worked for Whole Foods in a shop in Marlton, New Jersey, Kinzer in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Michno in Berkeley, California.

Kinzer et al. v. Whole Foods Market Inc., U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, No. 20-11358, is the name of the case.

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