Denny's Server Quits on the Spot as Maskless Customers Cite 'Civil Rights Act'

A Denny's employee quit on the spot in frustration as a pair of customers rattled off inaccurate "religious discrimination" legalities on why they don't have to wear masks in the privately owned chain restaurant.

Cellphone video posted to Reddit Tuesday shows a Denny's server grabbing her purse, flagging down her manager and leaving the restaurant as 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. The video recorded by one of the two maskless patrons shows a dateline from September but was first posted online this week. 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. "What is wrong with you people?"

Update: 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.

The two men both cite a "religious exemption," before falsely claiming this enables them to dine inside the privately owned chain restaurant franchise without masks. The frustrated Denny's employee then yells across the restaurant at her manager as she stands in the doorway. 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, as the man recording again accuses her of "discriminating" against them. "I'm not discriminating against you."

"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. 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."

Newsweek reached out to Denny's corporate offices for reaction Tuesday afternoon but did not hear back by the time of publishing. The company's website says, "America's Diner" is committed to sanitation and social distancing. Among the requirements for patrons and employees alike are temperature checks, masks and disposable menus available upon request. The website notes that Denny's employees are required to wash their hands every 20 minutes and must apply alcohol-based sanitizer before and after each new interaction with customers.

dennys employee quits anti-masker
Cellphone video posted to Reddit Tuesday shows a Denny's server grabbing her purse, flagging her manager and leaving the restaurant as 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. Screenshot: YouTube | Reddit Videos