Whole Foods Fires Back In Battle Over Black Lives Matter Mask Ban

According to a newly published court document, Whole Foods claimed that being forced to allow its employees to wear Black Lives Matter and other insignia while working would violate its constitutional rights.

First received by Bloomberg through a Freedom of Information Act request, the filing from December 17th comes following claims made by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that Whole Foods had illegally prevented their employees from wearing Black Lives Matter masks while working.

In July 2020, a group of Whole Foods employees filed a lawsuit against the company, saying they had been barred from wearing Black Lives Matter masks at work and had been threatened with termination if they continued to do so. In October 2020, many months after the complaint was filed, the corporation implemented a new dress code for its employees, prohibiting them from donning apparel that had visible brands, statements, or flags.

In its complaint filed on December 17, the National Labor Relations Board stated that Whole Foods’ clothing code was a violation of federal labor rules, which grant employees the freedom to participate in “concerted activities for their mutual aid and protection.”

Whole Foods stated in its filing, “By singling out the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ the General Counsel is impermissibly favoring, and requiring that [Whole Foods] favor, certain expressions of political speech over others in its retail grocery stores.”

The complaint continued, “the General Counsel seeks to compel employer speech by [Whole Foods] in violation of [Whole Foods’] rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and enforcement of any Order from the [NLRB] to compel such speech would violate the Constitution.”

The NLRB has yet to comment on this recent update.

Stay tuned to The Scoop for more.