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Appeals court rejects Whole Foods workers’ discrimination claim over dress code crackdown during BLM protests
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The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Whole Foods workers did not bring a valid racial discrimination claim against the grocery chain and parent company Amazon after previously dormant dress code policies were strictly enforced once workers began wearing Black Lives Matter masks and apparel in 2020.
In a Tuesday opinion, the court noted that discrimination claims "will not suffice where the defendant's alleged conduct is merely ‘consistent with’ unlawful action and is ‘just as much in line with’ lawful action." With that in mind, the court recognized that the phrase "Black Lives Matter" was politically charged and "rightly or wrongly" was controversial.
"Thus, the timing of Whole Foods' decision to begin enforcing its existing policy may be explained by the ‘obvious alternative explanation’ that Whole Foods did not want to allow the mass expression of a controversial message by employees in their stores," the court's opinion said.
Fox Business reached out to Whole Foods for comment, but they did not respond in time for publication.
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