A Denny’s employee quit on the spot in frustration after a pair of customers refused to wear a mask inside the privately-owned chain restaurant, inaccurately citing a “religious exemption” and the “Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
Cellphone video posted to Reddit Tuesday shows a Denny’s server politely asking the maskless customers to wear their masks inside the restaurant as mandated by the state’s governor.
The anti-masker customers immediately cite several “religious exemptions,” which prompts the Denny’s employee to reject this outright by telling them twice, “you’re required to wear a mask.”
But the two men, one of whom is wearing a shirt that quotes Franklin Battle, founder of the born-again Christian group, Jesus Christ Ministries, repeatedly accuse her of “discrimination.”
“You know what I quit, I f***ing quit,” the employee says as she throws down the Denny’s menus and begins storming out of the restaurant with her purse. “What is wrong with you people?”
The two men cite the “Civil Rights Act of 1964” as one reason they don’t have to wear masks intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
According to the National Law Review, Federal Law Title 2 of the Civil Rights Act, which has been cited by numerous Christian and religious groups refusing to wear masks, “does not guarantee your entry into any particular business establishment.”
“Roger, I’m not working for this s**t anymore. These guys won’t put their masks on, I’m sick of feeling like this,” the employee says to her manager, as the man recording again accuses her of “discriminating” against them.
“I’m not discriminating against you,” she replies.
“I’m sorry you can’t come in here without a mask, the governor said ‘no mask, no service,’” the manager tells the two men, repeating the words on public health signs posted all around the Denny’s front entrance.
“Sir, the Civil Rights Act says we can claim a religious exemption for not wearing a mask, we’re not sick,” the patron tells the manager. “OK, then you have lost our business.”
“The patron’s legal claim is wrong, according to several law reviews that have published articles on the topic of ‘religious discrimination’ since the start of the coronavirus pandemic,” Newsweek notes. “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 does address ‘discrimination or segregation in [specified] places of public accommodation’ based, in part, on ‘religion,’ the September issue of the law review entry notes. ‘But do the obligations imposed on employers by Title VII mean that customers have the ‘right to shop mask-free?’ The answer is NO.’”
A Denny’s spokesperson issued a statement to Newsweek Tuesday evening: “Denny’s is aware of the situation involving an employee and two guests that refused to wear face coverings at its Franklin Park, IL location. While we understand that some may feel that they are exempt from certain mandates, at Denny’s, the safety of our employees and guests is our top priority and we will always abide by all applicable regulations and guidelines to ensure that priority is met. This pandemic has hit the restaurant industry and those that work in it particularly hard, and we ask that those who choose to dine out respect the hard work and resilience of these workers by adhering to public health guidelines as well as individual restaurant policies. We look forward to when these requirements are no longer necessary, but until then, will continue to act in the best interest of the health and welfare of our guests, employees and the communities we serve.”