Morrisha Jones, a pregnant woman who was suspended for two days from her fast-food job for forgetting her name tag, has won back her job and back pay, Yahoo Lifestyle is reporting.
On March 13, Jones, who was eight months pregnant at the time, showed up to work at Burgerville, a regional fast-food chain operating out of Washington and Oregon. When she turned up at the Portland location without her name tag, she says she was at first treated like it was no big deal.
“I forgot my nametag at home, so my manager gave me a new one,” Morrisha recounted.
However, a short time later, for reasons that remain in dispute, the manager changed his mind and issued Jones with a two-week suspension.
“He said, ‘Just get your stuff and go home.'”
Though officially suspended for two weeks, the suspension actually only wound up being for two days, since Jones has been scheduled to go on maternity leave two days later.
Nevertheless, Jones pointed to the incident as part of a pattern of Burgerville managers issuing harsh discipline to employees for seemingly minor infractions.
“I was written up because my hat was crooked. I thought it was weird because I work in the kitchen, not on the floor with customers.”
Other complaints include being suspended or written up for missing an unassigned shift, not wearing non-slip shoes, or wearing a name tag on a hat (versus a shirt). A “culture of fear” and “brutal working conditions and hateful management” hung over the workplace, she alleges.
Jones believes that she was targeted for harsh punishment because she and her colleagues had been in the process of unionizing. Specifically, she says, the workers attempted to unionize and the company failed to recognize their move.
In an attempt to bargain for higher wages, affordable health insurance, and a fair work schedule, Jones and her coworkers formed the Burgerville Workers Union (under the Industrial Workers of the World). When the company failed to recognize their union, Jones and her colleagues appealed to the National Labor Relations Board.
As of this writing, her union is still awaiting official recognition from the NLRB. A series of hearings between the board, Jones’ union, and company management is set to take place on April 4 and 5.
As for Jones, when she shared her plight on social media, calls for a Burgerville boycott began rising up. Whether or not any boycott had an effect on the situation remains unclear. Regardless, whether through boycotts or because of public pressure, Burgerville reversed course and paid Jones back wages for the time she missed.