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Portland, Ore., Whole Foods workers walked off the job on Sunday in solidarity with an employee who insisted on wearing an unauthorized, hand-made “racism has no place here” button.
The employee, who is in the process of separating from the company, reportedly refused to remove the button that management said violated its dress code because it wasn’t company supplied or made by a company-approved vendor.
Ironically, this wording in question is part of Whole Foods mission statement.
The employment dispute is surprising in that it is commonly acknowledged that Whole Foods is woke company, and Portland these days seems to be ground zero for wokeism
In an interesting twist, the departing employee, Dylan Woodruff, 23, told a local publication called Street Roots that “The words on his button are also printed on banners that Whole Foods Market has hung in its stores and printed on its website.”
Woodruff, a floor support supervisor, added that an employee from another Portland store gifted him the button. No one at that other store faced disciplinary action for the accessory wearing.
The ornament apparently didn’t pass muster with management of the downtown Portland shop, however.
On Monday, July 27, management reportedly told him that he wouldn’t be welcomed back to the store (perhaps in that he had no place here), although his resignation is set to take effect on August 9.
“Woodruff had already submitted his formal resignation, but Whole Foods accepted his resignation early and is paying him through the previously set end date,” Fox Business reported. His resignation apparently was unrelated to the button issue.
Woodruff told the Oregonian that “I’m not too worried about losing the job, since I’ve already quit. My main concern is how it affected everyone else in the store.”
About 24 individuals participated in Sunday’s protest.
The dress code ‘bans any visible slogans, messages, logos or advertising that are not company-related, on any article of clothing,'” Fox Business added.
In June, Starbucks abruptly reversed a policy that originally prohibited its workers from wearing Black Lives Matter attire while on the clock. The coffee chain is also coming out with a line of BLM T-shirts for its employees.
The protests that have followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody have, among many other things, raised issues about whether employees can bring politics into the workplace. Private-sector employees have no automatic First Amendment free speech rights; obviously, employers can establish and revise their own policies.
Some Whole Foods workers in Massachusetts have taken the company to court over allegations that they were disciplined for wearing BLM face masks.
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