CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Several employees of a Massachusetts Whole Foods supermarket who wore Black Lives Matter face coverings were told by management to remove them or go home, some of the workers say.
Savannah Kinzer brought the masks to the Cambridge store on Wednesday and handed them out to co-workers, she told The Boston Globe.
When she and her colleagues put them on, the manager told them they either had to remove the masks or go home. Seven of them walked out.
The same thing happened Thursday.
Managers told employees they couldn’t wear Black Lives Matter masks because they weren’t part of the dress code, Kinzer said.
“Until we see it as a white person’s problem and not a Black issue that white people have to empathize with, racism will persist,” said Kinzer, who is white.
Whole Foods in a statement to the Globe defended the dress code.
“In a customer-focused environment, all team members must comply with our longstanding company dress code, which prohibits clothing with visible slogans, messages, logos or advertising that are not company-related,” the statement said.
Employees with non-compliant masks are always offered new face coverings, the company said.
Whole Foods workers in Bedford, New Hampshire, Philadelphia, and Seattle have also been sent home for wearing Black Lives Matter masks.