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AMAZON-OWNED supermarket Whole Foods is embroiled in a race row following its alleged sacking of a US worker for wearing a Black Lives Matter (BLM) face mask.
The company denied that it had fired staff member Savannah Kinzer over the issue, stating: “No team members have been terminated for wearing BLM face masks or apparel.”
It insisted that Ms Kinzer was sacked for allegedly “repeatedly violating our time and attendance policy by not working her assigned shifts, reporting late for work multiple times in the past nine days and choosing to leave during her scheduled shifts.”
But more than 40 Whole Foods workers are part of a lawsuit claiming discrimination against black staff members by selectively enforcing its dress code.
According to the claim, staff wearing clothing with other messages, such as LGBTQ pins or sports team logos, had not been disciplined in the past.
A statement said: “Whole Foods’s selective enforcement of its dress code in disciplining employees who wear apparel expressing support for the BLM movement constitutes unlawful discrimination.”
Shannon Liss-Riordan, the lawyer representing the workers, said Whole Foods was “falsely attacking” Ms Kinzer.
“[Its] decision to retaliate against employees expressing support for this racial justice movement was bad enough, but their efforts to disparage an amazing activist and leader are beyond the pale,” she said. “We look forward to making our argument in federal court.”
Workers are angry over hypocrisy after Whole Foods and Amazon expressed public support for BLM.
“So many companies today are doing everything they can to profess how progressive they are ... but when it actually comes to letting their employees express these same sentiments they get muzzled,” she said.
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