US: Whataburger Employee Loses Job Over Wearing 'Black Lives Matter' Face Mask
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In her complaint to the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division, Congious said that she was let go from the company due to her race and the message on her mask.
A series of events led Makiya Congious, an employee of the fast food company Whataburger to resign from her job as a cashier.
Congious wore a face mask that read 'Black Lives Matter' to her job, which was widely appreciated by several customers who visited the chain, complementing her mask that was emblazoned with a fist.
However, when the 19-year-old wore the mask to work the following day, a White customer threatened to call the hamburger chain's corporate office over the mask she was wearing, and the chain of events forced Contagious to lose her job. This didn't stop here, apparently, her managers called the police.
In her complaint to the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division, Congious said that she was let go from the company due to her race and the message on her mask, The Washington Post reported.
In defence, the fast-food chain released a statement saying that if they allow any non-Whataburger slogans as part of the uniform, they have to allow all the slogans. This could further create tensions and conflicts among the employees and customers. "It is our job as a responsible brand to proactively keep our employees and customers safe", the statement added.
In her complaint, Contagious said that earlier when she wore the mask, managers at her store did not raise any concerns, and was never questioned by anyone in the chain.
It was only the following Monday, after the white customer complained, the managers told employees they had to wear masks with 'no opinions whosoever on it', which sparked an argument between her and management, according to the Post.
She captured a video of her argument with managers, which was accessed by Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in which one supervisor said, "You're entitled to your personal opinions, that's fine. But at Whataburger we don't want to portray them because some people may be offended."
The company had provided the employees with masks they have to wear, the supervisor added, though Congious noted that other workers wore masks of different brands than the one provided by the company, including a Mexican flag, or a Gucci.
In the midst of the argument, she still requested her manager to provide her with two weeks' notice. "You want two weeks' notice? We accept it, you don't have to come back at all," the manager replied.
Contagious said that she did not intend to quit and wanted to ask about her options. But when she stayed in the store despite the managers asking her to leave, they called police on her.five cars arrived at the spot, and Congious left and never returned to work.
The 19-year-old defended wearing the mask at work during a press conference held Wednesday with her lawyer Jason C.N. Smith. "It's not a political thing," she said. "It's just a statement that says 'Black Lives Matter' because we do matter."
The company released a statement saying that the restaurants' mask policy doesn't allow anything with non-Whataburger messaging.
Smith, Congious's attorney, said the Texas Workforce Commission has 180 days to look into her case and Whataburger has 30 days to respond to the complaint. If the state does not reach a conclusion, Congious has the right to sue.
Boycott Whataburger for 90 days for pushing my client Makiya Congious out of her job for wearing a Black Lives Matter mask at work.
Makiya has filed a discrimination complaint against Whataburger with the State of Texas.
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