Trader Joe’s Workers Fired Over Pandemic-Related Policies
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On behalf of The Rager Law Firm posted on August 19, 2021
Six Trader Joe’s employees in one location signed affidavits stating that Trader Joe’s violated over a dozen laws in the ways it treated its unvaccinated workforce. Four of those employees are now without a job, and an organization called Health Freedom for Humanity or HFFH is helping those workers file a wrongful termination claim against the popular grocery chain.
4th Amendment Rights Violations Alleged
Affidavits filed in the California courts demand the state to investigate and correct the actions taken by Trader Joe’s. The complainants allege that the grocery store company violated their 4th Amendment right to privacy along with other civil and penal codes, including violations of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Allegations of 15 Laws Broken
Plaintiffs in this suit say that Trader Joe’s denied “employment to an employee who is not wearing a mask, has not received the Emergency Use Authorized COVID shot or refused Emergency Use Authorized PCR testing for either medical or religious reasons.” Because of this, according to documents filed in the case, Trader Joe’s is in violation of seven state and eight federal laws. Paracorp Inc., which is Trader Joe’s registered agent, was named in the case along with company executives. Served parties have two weeks to respond.
Coercion to Wear Mask, Get Vaccinated
Employees say that they were coerced by management to receive the COVID-19 vaccination and wear a mask or be fired from their positions. They were not afforded any religious or medical exemptions, they say. One worker says that the regional manager for the Trader Joe’s location said that if he wanted to feed his family, he should just be quiet and put on his mask.
HFFH says that it offered the company help with satisfying both the health department’s needs and the rights of the employees without violating any laws.
Trader Joe’s is a privately held company with more than 135 stores in California and more than 500 across the country, with employees, totaling more than 50,000.
In June, California’s Department of Industrial Relations, a division of Cal/OSHA, issued updated guidelines for workers regarding masking and vaccinations. These new guidelines allow employees who are fully vaccinated to work without masks indoors. But, as HFFH points out, these are not mandates—they’re simply guidelines, and went on to say that it is not true that OSHA, the health department, or even the governor can make laws on their own.
Trader Joe’s employees went on to say that the conservative workers among them often feel shamed and intimidated by their beliefs due to the company’s culture, which (politically) leans to the left.
An Invasion of Privacy
One worker spoke about feeling that divulging private medical information regarding the workers’ vaccination status feels like an invasion of privacy. For some workers, it is a matter of personal liberty—it is their bodies and their choice if they want to be vaccinated or not, they say.
Were You Wrongfully Terminated?
Employers found in violation of workplace rules when terminating employees may be asked to pay damages such as the recovery of lost wages, court costs of plaintiffs, legal fees of plaintiffs, pain and suffering damages, and possibly, punitive damages, depending on the situation. Moreover, they may have to allow the terminated worker to resume their job duties.