The case of the Karens: Lawsuits against mask-wearing ordinances

The case of the Karens: Lawsuits against mask-wearing ordinances

Used as a pejorative, the name Karen has come to be associated with white women showing problematic behavior, such as requesting to speak to the manager for no good reason. That is the true essence of being a Karen: to exhibit a keen sense of entitlement in everyday situations.

Karens also don’t like to wear face masks, an audacious choice at a time when a little health hazard called coronavirus is continuing to cause serious respiratory conditions to those it touches. As for why it had to be Karen and not, say, Becky, Emma, or Daisy, we don’t know. Fun fact: a man can be a Karen too.

One of Karen’s battle cries in the time of corona is being stripped of her right to breathe. Stripping someone of their right to breathe is indeed wrong. Trust us, personal injury lawyers in Washington state, when we say that attempts to stop someone from taking in oxygen through one’s breathing orifices are a federal crime.

In short, killing is bad. Also bad: not wearing a face mask in public. And we know you have questions about the legal repercussions of refusing to wear one. We may or may not answer them in this article (but you can simply call us for personal injury and family law advice).

Can businesses get sued for asking customers (and staff) to wear a mask?

If you’re a business owner, you’ve likely studied and complied with mask-wearing requirements in your state to avoid face covering-related lawsuits, of which there have been many since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses across the country, including those in the Evergreen State, must follow strict guidelines on covering one’s face. If customers contact COVID-19 from your establishment because you were not following protocols, you could get sued. If your business imposes mask-wearing guidelines, you could get sued too. Because let’s face it, anyone can get sued for anything.

There’s a slim chance, however, that an employer could be successfully sued by customers or even employees who are required to wear a mask within business premises. If a customer has a medical condition that wearing a mask could possibly exacerbate and result in serious illness, a personal injury case could be made against the establishment.

The same goes for employees required to wear a mask at work. Employees who are ordered to wear a face mask while performing their duties could potentially encounter hazards caused by a mask, and/or it could affect their performance. In such instances, employees may then file suit against their employer.

While these are unprecedented times that call for strict public health measures such as wearing a face mask, Karens resist to cover their faces based on the allegation that masks are unlawful.

“Wear a mask orders are a violation of federal laws”

In response to the pandemic, Trader Joe’s have adjusted business practices by implementing safety procedures and imposing health measures for customers and clients in-store. But some customers just couldn’t help but spice things up.

A shopper at TJ’s North Hollywood in Los Angeles caused a stir when she refused to wear a face mask because, she claimed, she had difficulty breathing from her nose. She said the branch’s manager allowed her to shop for that day only, out of consideration for her “medical condition.”

Unfortunately for her, shoppers and some staff members were having none of it. The customer got yelled at and insults were hurled every which way. Before things got really heated up, the police arrived to escort the lady suffering from I-don’t-want-to-wear-a-mask-itis out the store.

California’s statewide face mask mandate, which requires Californians to wear a face mask while in indoor spaces, public transportation, and workplaces, did not help her cause.

“Masks violate privacy”

A mask reduces mask wearers’ risk of exposing others to their saliva and respiratory secretions, which contain germs and can cause the spread of coronavirus. Wearing a mask also conceals a part of the face — an unexpected benefit that gives mask wearers more, not less, privacy.

Many, many people in Florida don’t see it that way, though. Leon County Republican Executive Committee chairman Evan Power is one of thousands of Floridians against wearing face masks. In June, he filed a lawsuit against the Leon County mask-wearing ordinance, citing that it is a violation of privacy rights.

“No, wearing a mask doesn’t violate anyone’s privacy rights,” is basically what Judge John Cooper said, who ruled against the lawsuit. “Same,” said Leon County’s attorney Drew Parker. Mr. Parker didn’t actually say “same,” but similarly argued that wearing a mask is crucial to curbing the continued spread of COVID-19.

Apropos of nothing, here are but a few moments of Floridians publicly denouncing the source of all evil that is the face mask:

As of this writing, the Sunshine State has tallied more than 700,000 COVID-19 cases.

“Masks violate freedom of conscience”

Right here in the Evergreen State, some citizens are also not backing down from fighting against the oppressive medical devices also known as face masks.

The Freedom Foundation, on behalf of a group of concerned citizens, filed a lawsuit against Governor Jay Inslee and Washington Secretary of Health John Wiesman’s mask-wearing mandate. The group questioned the constitutional authority of requiring citizens to wear face masks in public places and private businesses.

They demanded that mask-wearing be done on one’s own volition, instead of as a public health measure to stop the spread of a disease that has, so far, claimed hundreds of thousands of lives across the United States.

The “concerned” Washingtonians also suggested that the requirement is akin to supporting “junk science,” which tramples on their freedom of conscience. “There are riots in Seattle,” the group also added, in hopes to deflect from the issue at hand.

It is unknown whether a hearing will be held for the case. Our advice: don’t hold your breath.

At the end of the day, individuals and business owners are going to do what’s best for themselves, even though what’s best in today’s environment is undoubtedly to wear a face mask, practice social distancing, and wash one’s hands.

If you or your business get involved in any face covering-related legal troubles with a Karen, consult Washington personal injury attorneys Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams. Call us at 425-250-9661 or leave us a message.