In-N-Out Burger, a popular West Coast chain, is stirring up controversy with its new mask policy set to take effect on August 14. According to leaked memos, employees in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, and Utah will be banned from wearing masks, with exceptions for those who can provide a doctor’s note. The company aims to promote “clear and effective communication” and showcase their employees’ smiles. Violators may face disciplinary action, including termination.
Meanwhile, in Oregon and California, the chain will only allow store-provided N95 masks to be worn on the job, citing improved communication with customers and among associates. The move comes despite the previous stringent masking and vaccination policies in California, where the company is based.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) deemed masks critical in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, but some view them as an infringement on their rights. In-N-Out Burger has faced criticism before for resisting pandemic precautions, with a San Francisco location temporarily shut down for indoor dining without proof of vaccination.
As the CDC declared an end to the public health emergency, some argue that the new mask policy endangers vulnerable individuals and those with compromised immune systems. “Long Covid” continues to affect many, making precautions essential for some.
In response to the In-and-Out mask issue, a Change.org petition has garnered over 1,500 signatures, accusing In-N-Out’s guidelines of endangering employees’ lives and discriminating against disabled and immunocompromised individuals.
In its policy memo, In-N-Out Burger states that the mask guidelines are intended to prioritize customer service while considering health and safety. The company plans to review and adjust the rules based on prevailing guidelines and local regulations.
Employers have the right to issue health guidelines, however many feel that In-N-Out has gone too far in their policy and is violating employee rights. Not only is the company disregarding medical evidence, but it is also putting employees at risk of contracting Covid-19. There is also concern that vulnerable people are not being adequately protected from discrimination as a result of this policy.
For those who believe their employers are violating labor laws, seeking help from Labor Law Advocates in California is recommended. Labor Law Advocates can provide information, advice, and assistance in filing a complaint and seeking financial compensation. Call us today for a free consultation.