Trader Joe’s Worker Allegedly Fired After Asking for ‘3 Strike’ Mask Policy

Trader Joe's
Phillip Pessar/Flickr

Ben Bonnema, a former Trader Joe’s employee, claimed the company fired him after he sent a letter to the CEO requesting further action — from improved filtration to a “three strikes” mask policy — to address concerns over the Chinese coronavirus.

Bonnema posted his letter to the CEO on social media last week, claiming the company fired him for not sharing its fundamental values:

“Last week, more than a dozen scientists called on the Biden administration to set better air standards for workplaces,” he wrote in the letter.

“It is becoming more and more clear that aerosol particles — likely more so than surfaces or even droplets — are a significant course of COVID transmission,” he continued, also citing a paper from the Journal of Hospital Infection, which recommends “sufficient and effective ventilation.”

But further steps should be taken, he continued, asking the CEO to implement several practices in the New York City store. His requests included limiting story capacity based on CO2 levels, not allowing maskless shoppers in the store “for any reason,” and adopting a “3 strikes” policy.

“The ADA requires that we offer reasonable accommodation, which we do by offering to shop for them,” he said. “If they refuse, we should not let them in”

Further, he said the “3 strikes” policy should be used to remove “uncooperative people” from the stores.

“I was recently shouted and sworn at by a customer who would not wear his mask above his nose, despite Mates already asking him to do so,” he said, seemingly expressing disappointment that the customer was “allowed to finish his shopping and check out.”

“We put our lives not he line everyday by showing up to work,” he closed. “Please, show up for us by adopting these policies.”

Bonnema also posted the letter he received from Trader Joe’s upon his February 26 termination. The company specifically cited the “3 strike” policy, as well as his request to bar everyone, even those with certain medical conditions, from the store if they do not wear a mask.

“These suggestions are not in line with our core Values. In addition, you state that Trader Joe’s is ‘not showing up for us’ without adopting your policies,” the Crew Member Incident Report read.

“It is clear that you do not understand our Values, As a result, we are no longer comfortable having you work for Trader Joe’s,” it added:

Kenya Friend-Daniel, a spokesperson for Trader Joe’s, told the Washington Post the store fired Bonnema due to the “disrespect he showed toward our customers.”

“Nothing is more important at Trader Joe’s than the safety of our Crew Members and customers,” the spokesperson added.

The former employee’s demands come as national health officials refuse to relax public health measures, even embracing double-masking — an option now touted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


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