An employee at a Fort Worth, Texas Whataburger says she was fired on Tuesday (Aug. 4) for wearing a mask with the words “Black Lives Matter” written on it.
Makiya Congious recorded the conversation that took place with her manager. “Whataburger wants you to wear a mask that has no opinions whatsoever on them,” the manager 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. This is a big business. ... Whataburger doesn’t want to get into anything political because we’re just hamburgers and fries.”
Congious then asked the manager about giving her two weeks’ notice before quitting. “Can I put my two weeks’ notice in?” she asked. The manager told her to leave immediately. “You want to put your two weeks notice in? We accept it and you don’t have to come back at all,” the manager replied.
On the same recording, another employee was heard complaining about being called the N-word by a customer. The employee said, “That’s why my life matters.”
After a white customer complained, that's when she was reprimanded for the mask, which she had also worn the Friday prior to the incident with no problems. “If you can walk around the whole town with your mask on, why does it matter? It’s something of meaning to us,” Congious said.
Congious said she stayed at the restaurant to get clarification about the mask policy and her two weeks’ notice. Management then called police because she would not leave.
According to a spokesperson, “Officers made the scene and spoke with the female ex-employee who stated that all she wanted was the number to corporate to file a complaint. Ex-employee was provided number by the manager and then left scene without incident.”
On Wednesday (Aug. 5), Whataburger released a statement regarding the incident. “Whataburger supports racial equality,” the statement said. “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.”
People have organized protests at the Whataburger restaurant. Some individuals have also placed large orders and left without picking up the food or paying.