Whataburger is facing backlash after firing a Black employee who wore a face mask with the words, “Black Lives Matter.”
The incident occurred in Fort Worth, Texas, according to Fort-Worth Star-Telegram.
On Aug. 4, Ma’Kiya Congious went to work while wearing the face mask, which is required by all employees while on shift for safety measures. Congious wore the Black Lives Matter mask before without any feedback from her managers. However, when a customer complained about the mask, she was reprimanded.
A White woman confronted Congious and told her that the company should not allow her to wear the mask.
When confronted by a manager, Congious reportedly recorded video of a conversation where the manager told her, “Whataburger wants you to wear a mask that has no opinions whatsoever on them. 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. This is a big business. … Whataburger doesn’t want to get into anything political because we’re just hamburgers and fries.”
Congious asked if she could put in her two-week notice for resignation and the manager told her that she could leave immediately. Congious attempted to stay at the restaurant to get clarification on the mask policy, but police where called and she was forced to leave the property.
She was eventually able to get a copy of the mask policy that went into effect on May 1. The policy does not mention a ban against political statements.
Following the incident, Whataburger released a statement that read: “Whataburger supports racial equality. This is simply a matter of enforcing our uniform policy. Whataburger employees are provided company-issued masks that comply with our policy and adhere to CDC and local government guidance.”