Leigh Nelson has enjoyed working at the Fred Meyer store in Palmer for the past two and a half years. A stellar employee, she serves in multiple departments and helps train new hires. On July 8, however, she was told to leave the store indefinitely because she declined to either submit to a COVID shot or wear a mask throughout her weekly shifts.

A sign at the entrance of the Fred Meyer store in Palmer states that masks are not required for “fully vaccinated individuals.”

Pressure to get the experimental vaccine had been mounting for weeks, according to Nelson. It started with free vaccines for all employees. Then the company offered $100 bonuses to whomever showed proof of vaccination.

“I kind of knew something was coming, but I didn’t really think they would ask me to leave,” Nelson told the Watchman. “I’m never late. I’m never sick. I always do the task at hand.”

In fact, Nelson appears to be a model employee. She is trained to work in cosmetics, apparel, as a store shopper and in new-hire training.  On July 8, however, she was given an ultimatum.

Shortly after reporting for her 8 a.m. shift, Nelson said she was called upstairs to the human resource director’s office. There, she was told to either show proof of vaccination, wear a mask, or leave immediately.

“I was like, ‘So, you’re going to fire me over not wearing a mask?’” Nelson recalled of her conversation with the HR manager. “She said, ‘No, it will be a voluntary resignation if you choose not to provide your card or wear a mask.’”

Nelson said she was then asked to sign a paper stating that she was “voluntarily” ending her employment with Fred Meyer. Nelson refused, saying she wouldn’t sign anything until the manager agreed to sign a statement assuring her that the vaccine would not be harmful to her health.

The entrance to the Fred Meyer store in Palmer.

“[The manager] said she wouldn’t sign anything, and I said, I won’t sign anything either,” Nelson said. “I told her my beliefs. My father was in World War II, and he fought for our freedom of choice along with lots of other men and women who have fought and served for our country, and I’m not going to dishonor them by doing this. I think this is just wrong.”

Ultimately, Nelson was sent home with no indication she would ever be called in to work again.

“I kind of got tears in my eyes because I enjoy my job and the people I work with,” Nelson said. “It was just a really sad situation for me.”

Despite what’s happening in the Palmer store, there seems to be some confusion about whether Fred Meyer, as a national chain, requires all employees to either get a COVID shot or wear a mask.

According to a spokesman from Fred Meyer’s corporate office there is no national policy requiring vaccinations for employees, and mask mandates are decided on regional basis.

“At this time, we do not require associates to be vaccinated, but we do offer a $100 incentive, for which they become eligible once fully vaccinated,” a spokesman wrote in an emailed response to Watchman questions. “Our stores currently follow state and local laws regarding the wearing of masks for both customers and associates.”

The Palmer store’s approach to COVID stands in stark contrast to the overall attitude in the Mat-Su where mask-wearing and vaccinations are the exception.

The Palmer Fred Meyer, however, appears to have taken a more stringent approach.

Nelson’s HR manager did not respond Watchman questions, but a Palmer Fred Meyer associate did confirmed that the Mat-Su store requires all employees to either get a COVID shot or wear a mask.

“Unvaccinated employees have to wear masks,” the employee explained. “They are required until they show proof of vaccination, and any employees that are fully vaccinated don’t have to wear masks.”

The Palmer store’s approach to COVID stands in stark contrast to the overall attitude in the small town, as well as that of the greater Mat-Su area where mask-wearing and vaccinations are the exception, not the rule.

According to July 12 data from the Alaska Department of Health, only 35% of Mat-Su residents are vaccinated. Despite this, the area enjoys one of the lowest COVID transmission rates in the state at just 2.8 cases per 100,000 people. Additionally, there are no government mask mandates or vaccination requirements in Alaska or anywhere in Mat-Su. Palmer attempted to institute a mask mandate earlier this year, but the proposal was met with overwhelming community opposition. Individual businesses, however, are free to impose their own mandates.

Fred Meyer is owned by the Kroger Company, one of the largest grocery retailers on the planet with 2,800 stores in 35 states. Kroger operates under 30 different store names, including Ralphs, PayLess, Home Chef, Harris Teeter and many others.

The company website states that it takes pride in providing hospitality and generosity within its stores.

“Because every time someone crosses our threshold we get a fresh chance to make an emotional connection, lighten their load and lift them up. It’s a simple truth that our world is hungry for uplift,” the Kroger website affirms. It adds: “We treat all with dignity and value the opinions and perspectives of others.”

Click here to support the Alaska Watchman.

Mat-Su Fred Meyer store boots stellar employee for declining to vaccinate or wear a mask

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Patrick Dalton says:

    More people need to boldly challenge this pressure as this courageous person did. Wnd headline today(14th) more vaccine deaths this week nationally than covid deaths! Do you suppose they could be trying to cull the population, or cripple America at least? If so what is next?

  • Don says:

    I will do my shopping at Three Bears – Palmer / Four Corners which is 3.9 miles and about 6 minutes from Palmer Fred Meyers.

  • Doug Burger says:

    Good for Leigh Nelson for standing up for individual rights. Corporate Fred Meyer does not have a policy regarding vaccination or masks so it seems like Mat-Su Fred Meyer management has taken it on themselves to force their personal convictions on their employees. My grandparents immigrated from Europe prior to WWII, my father and his brothers served in the military during WWII and I served 21 years in the military through Vietnam. More and more individuals in authority have assumed that the rest of us are obligated to allign with their personal convictions. That is not the freedom that our country’s founders desired and so carefully specified in founding documents. Thank you Joel Davidson for reporting this.

  • G Aleution says:

    I was going to increase my purchasing at FM. Now FM is off my list. Never shopping there again. I don’t support communists.

    • MICHAEL HUGHES says:

      Boycott, boycott, boycott all their stores; and spread the word. Freddy’s was always my go to market, but no more. And, go to the customer service counter, request to see their HR director, and let them know you will are not going to buy from them anymore until the Wasilla store reinstates Ms. Nelson. Vote with your $$$$

    • Half century in Alaska says:

      Like you, I agree that I will never shop at “Freddy’s” until they get their act together and remember the Constitutional freedom’s that American’s have fought and died for. This could be a hugh mistake by Freddy’s and could end up costing them countless millions. Spread the word around.

  • Neil A DeWitt says:

    In my opinion it’s the vaccinated people that should wear the masks. It has been proven twice in the last month alone where cruise ships with everyone vaccinated have had cases of covid on board. Last week in Ketchikan we had one and now it’s quarantined in Juneau last I heard. Here’s your proof Fred Meyer. Give the lady her job back. It’s the right thing to do. And with back pay.

    It’s the “A” symptomatic vaccinated that are spreading the covid not the unvaccinated. What about the people that had covid and recovered? They have the real natural antibodies, not some fake experimental trash the government is putting out.

    I refuse to be a ginny pig for experimental drug testing by our government. When the FDA approved the drug then I might think about getting the vaccine and not before!

  • Sharon Turner says:

    Way past time we do written protest to Kroger’s Cleveland Headquarters, asap. They need to know “that Fresh for Everyone” does not mean SSR, and North Korea type stale Stalinist ‘lock step’. Now seeking a Constitutionalist food store in Anchorage! I will “circle back” if I locate such. ‘great grandma’ PS: do US citizens still ‘read’ todays’ proven science on this?

  • G Aleution says:

    Our legislators should demand the business licenses be closed of all business who interfere in health privacy rights. YOUr legislators are receiving significant funds to defend your rights. ARE THEY GIVING ANY EVIDENCE, AT ALL, THAT THEY INTEND TO DEFEND YOUR RIGHTS?

  • Ross Perrine says:

    Fred Meyers should be ashamed for forcing an employee to take an experimental injection or lose their job! This is not only in violation of Federal Law: 21 U.S.C. 360bbb – 3(e) (1) (A) (ii) (III) regarding Experimental Use Authorization (EUA) Vaccines, but a violation of the Geneva Conventions & Nuremburg Code, and should not be tolerated in any free country! Where is our Governor and State Legislature while these illegal mandates are being forced on honest hard working Alaskans without their consent????

    • EscapedAnchorage says:

      Here here.

      I stopped shopping at Fred’s 2 or 3 months ago when I saw the game they were playing. I have known for years they’re terrible to their employees. From what I understand West Dimond had really -really- bad management but that was a few years ago. Seems Palmer one up-ed West Dimond.

    • JOHN BROOKS says:

      Unfortunately, the courts have upheld private employers mandating the vaccine and masks for their employees. The only right the employee has is to walk out the door and find a better job.

      • MICHAEL HUGHES says:

        It is against HIPPA laws for anyone to even ask ANYTHING about your health, even doctors; unless you give them written permission to do so (I, and am sure all of us, periodically, have to do so at every doctor’s office). Ms Nelson should sue them.

      • Amber says:

        While I agree that any coercion to undergo this injection should be criminal, unfortunately the law you cite does not make it so. HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) places restrictions on what information your health care providers can share and with whom; it does not restrict an employer from asking you, the individual, anything. We must fight this on moral grounds, not weaken our argument with a misunderstanding of current law.

  • Jen says:

    Real rich! Of these business employers think they can use their authority Forcing employees to get the covid jab. Only! Because the businesses can’t force Customers get the covid jab before shopping. All I can tell you! I’ll accept Gov. Dunleavy for a second term. Cause a Democrat or rep. Rasmussen or Merrick type governor will use every bit of their authority to see to it that not only employees but also Every customer recieves the covid jab before working and shopping.

  • Jen says:

    Very disappointed in Fred Meyers. If this isnt corporate policy then perhaps regional director terminate the manager and reinstate the employee. I call them a risk to the company’s reputation. .

    It sends the wrong message.
    I thought Fred Meyers was more classy than Walmart.

  • Theresa says:

    Thank you, Leigh Nelson, for having the courage and tenacity to stand up for yourself. I am particularly impressed with your refusal to sign anything until the store manager signed a statement that your health would not be harmed by a COVID vaccine.

    I emailed Fred Meyer’s customer service department to let them know how egregious their “Community Immunity” program is. I received a standard “thank you for your input, I’ve passed along your thoughts, etc” reply to my first two emails, but nothing after I asked, again, if Fred Meyer is willing to accept liability should anyone experience and adverse reaction after receiving the jab at any of their locations.


  • Cherie says:

    Wow this is going to far, stand your ground if we don’t turn this country around this will happen to all of us.

  • DoneWithIt says:

    Covid Commies.
    More silence.
    This gross discrimination .
    Masks don’t work, they actually exacerbate respiratory issues.
    People aren’t “dying in the streets” from Covid.
    Stop the Mass Hysteria.
    Stop the covid theater.
    I’m calling the store Mgr and HR Mgr now.

  • Mo says:

    Leigh Nelson, thank you for taking a stand against tyranny and oppression! Everyone needs to stop bending over for these idiots, it’s unbelievable they attempted to coerce her into signing something, I would have done the same. Shame on Fred Meyer!

  • Tamra Nygaard says:

    How could Fred Meyer possibly know if someone is vaccinated? Have they never heard of HIPPA?

  • Jennifer Titus says:

    Good for you, Leigh Nelson!
    Everyone should download a copy of the Covid shot Employee Rights Form from (Millions Against Medical Mandates)
    I will do my shopping elsewhere Fred Meyer. Last time I went to Palmer Fred Meyer the vaccinated, un-masked clerk put the peaches on the bottom of the bag and 3 glass jars on top of them; I don’t think his brain is working very well anymore.

  • Kris Spencer says:

    It i AGAINST the Law to make an experimental, non-FDA approved drug a condition for employment! WHY wasn’t this fact in the article? Why aren’t employees being told this? Employers claim they CAN, insist on a vax, but that’s NOT the case here! The reason? It’s EXPERIMENTAL. Under the law, you can’t force anyone…or fire them from a job if they decline to participate in the experiment. Will Fred Meyer be held accountable if the employee has an adverse reaction or death? There have been blood clots, irregular heart beats, rash, miss-carriage, Bell’s Palsy and yes, in some cases death associated with these vaccines. Everyone needs to know that they cannot be forced.

  • Dean says:

    The employees at that FM need to walk out en masse and stay out until employee is restored. Already understaffed, they would cave in an instant.

  • Levi says:

    She needs to watch what Candace Owens recently put out about people getting fired for not getting vaccinated. Sounds like she made some of the right moves.

  • Steve says:

    She needs to sue the store for wrongful termination and violation of HIPPA Laws by requiring employee’s show a vaccination card. Before someone states they are a private business they don’t fall under HIPPA by opening their doors and allowing the general public in they are indeed a public entity because they sell stocks on the open market.

    • Colorado Conservative says:

      You are exactly right. Ms. Nelson needs to contact America’s Frontline Doctors or attorney Leigh Dundas who will help Ms. Nelson challenge the store policy and WIN.

  • Terri says:

    Ask the employees @ AIH what happen when the were told “get a shot or go home”. So they fought back & filed a lawsuit. Everyone is working & management is fighting the lawsuit. Of course everyone is being very quiet about all of this.
    Please check on this.

  • G Aleution says:

    Alaska is a state in the federal union because we the people consent. The federal union of states has a contract with each of us to guarantee our republic rights. These rights may not be infringed by third parties especially corporations created by states and permitted the privilege of conducting business in this state via a business license. Anything created by man (a corporate entity) may be be investigated by the legislators for protested, complained of in writing acts that contravene the US Constitution still in force or business practices interferring with federal suggestions regarding no -discrimination due to private health matters. We consent to this form of legislative branch so that when we protest properly (in proper written form per Mason’s Manual) and we request urgent investigation the legislature must immediately without any delay act and look at subpoenaed witnesses. The legislature then decides and writes a report and applies remedy as can be found in Masons Manual including closing the businesses who forfeit margins etc. That is called defending RIGHTS. Has Alaska legislature ever done this? It is public record and their duty. It is PROCESS THAT IS DUE. Why does Alaska demure? Alaska should not be represented by the demure.

    • G Aleution says:

      Alaska is a state in the federal union because we the people consent. The federal union of states has a contract with each of us to guarantee our republic rights. These rights may not be infringed by third parties especially corporations created by states and permitted the privilege of conducting business in this state via a business license. Anything created by man (a corporate entity) may be be investigated by the legislators for protested, complained of in writing acts that contravene the US Constitution still in force or business practices interferring with federal suggestions regarding no -discrimination due to private health matters. We consent to this form of legislative branch so that when we protest properly (in proper written form per Mason’s Manual) and we request urgent investigation the legislature must immediately without any delay act and look at subpoenaed witnesses. The legislature then decides and writes a report and applies remedy as can be found in Masons Manual including closing the businesses who forfeit margins etc. That is called defending RIGHTS. Has Alaska legislature ever done this? It is public record and their duty. It is PROCESS THAT IS DUE. Why does Alaska demure? Alaska should not be represented by the demure.

  • G Aleution says:

    Sorry about duplicate my phone is not optimized. If the state has NEVER done this since statehood in 1959 isn’t time they start?

  • NAV says:

    Fred Myers is in clear violation of 45 CFR § 46.116 – General requirements for informed consent mandating shots and practicing medicine without a license which make them also guilty of transfer of liability!!

  • NAV says:

    Mandating a mask is as Joel was so very kind to run OSHA’s statement on a medical procedure when mandating masks. Makes Fred Myers liable for any and ALL physical 9medical) harm to these individuals!! A law suit filed in the state supreme court for civil liberties violations against Fred Myers can cut the legs out from under every employer and politician’s feet that can’t hold science.

  • Patrick C Cockrell says:

    If you look at this objectively there are some clues to show this is a one-sided conversation. According to Leigh, she was told to get the vaccine or to wear a mask. No one is forcing her to get the vaccine but to use safety equipment to protect her from getting covid. Not much different from a construction worker in a hard hat area not wearing a hard hat being asked to leave the Jobsite. I believe from the information given she is welcome to work as long as she follows safety protocols. It is her choice not to work as-is for anyone to choose employment requirements. I don’t see the issue as they are not forcing her to get the vaccine but to follow safety protocals.

    • Steve Peterson says:

      The “safety protocols” are not safe. Rebreathing your own vapor for an 8 hour shift is unhealthy, and the (so-called) vaccine continues to wreak havoc on people of all ages. Telling a good employe to do life threatening things is not right. Masks do nothing, and aside from the danger of being injected with an experimental concoction, the “vaccine” apparently does not keep one from getting COVID. So this is just a power play.

      • Kyle says:

        The vaccine has shown no negative effects and has never been claimed to make you invulnerable from the virus. It simply makes the virus less effective against yourself and from spreading it as easily. Masks have also proven to not alter oxygen intake in MULTIPLE STUDIES. Please inform yourself more Mr. Peterson.

      • Liberty Loving Alaskan says:

        Paid TROLL alert.

        The non-vaccine experimental gene-therapy jab has already killed nearly 10,000 & maimed multiple thousands more.
        Widely reported by reputable doctors on uncensored platforms.
        We have a friend in a very bad way, in much pain, since being coerced to get the jab.
        Other friends have lost their jobs.
        If it’s so good, why all the coersion & bribery to take it?
        Stinks to high heavens!

  • DC says:

    have been shopping FM since they came to the valley. That ends today until they change their policy and rehire Leigh. 3 Bears will gain from your ignorance.

  • american girtl says:

    I am glad she stood up to Fred Meyer! WE ARE A FREE COUNTRY NOT A COMMUNIST ONE! I will not shop there anymore. when they start offering money to be a lab rat something is wrong, we all need to fight for our american rights Alaska stand together!

  • Leslie Wright says:

    Good for you! 3 Bears is looking like a better shopping option. To offer a bonus/money to employees is a little bit radical IMO

  • Bucket says:

    Never again will I visit Fred Meyer.

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    I’ve been shopping at Fred Meyers this whole time. Yes with No mask.
    I asked an employee, why are you wearing a mask and he’s not wearing a mask. They were both in an Fred Meyers uniform. One said I got the shot and a $100 dollars. So I don’t need to wear a mask.
    I asked again why. They new nothing about the vaccine, I got a $100 why not.
    More Sheep walking over to the cliff for a measly $100. I guess there life is not worth much. If they offered me a million dollars, I still would say, No Shot for me.
    Yes one more business to stop supporting.
    Love three bears

  • JinAk says:

    FM in Palmer is my preferrred place to shop so this is very concerning. The other missing piece of the puzzle is those who are Covid recovered. There are studies showing natural immunity protection for extended periods of time and perhaps life long and hence, no need for a vaccine or a mask! Not sure Ms Nelson fits this category but none the less, she showed great courage to stand up to the abuses wrought upon her by this employer. Perhaps this is an opportunity to find a new job where your personal integrity will be valued Ms. Nelson though I am sorry you are dealing with the loss of a job it sounds like you enjoyed.

  • Jean says:

    Never shopping there again. Jackbooted brownshirt thugs don’t get my business.

    • Pablo L samaniego says:

      They don’t going to give a s*** if you shopping there or not smart ass

  • Sally Pollen says:

    I’m hoping the Palmer FM management reads every one of these good comments! Leigh Nelson makes me proud to be from Palmer where, generally, we think for ourselves and don’t roll over for the unconstitutional and un-Godly agenda trying to force its way into our community. Great article, Joel!

  • Kirk Sanderson says:

    Won’t be shopping there much anymore. Carrs has good produce and Three Bears has a good hunting / fishing attitude.

  • Sharon Knowlton says:

    I’m very concerned about losing our freedom as well as the bribery to get your cooperation. Companies, airlines, colleges, all demanding a mask or a experimental vaccine. Enough!! I’m not against anyone wearing a mask or getting vaccinated if they want to I’m against force. My grandkids can’t return to college without it. Healthy young people that already had COVID don’t need to be vaccinated. I refuse to fly until mask mandates are dropped.

  • Pablo L samaniego says:

    She can’t have the freedom she want but if she work in a store where people goes she need to wear a mask because her freedom ends when the other people’s feed them it starts she has no right for food and risk people when she is an employee she is representative of Kroger on Kroger said mask she need to wear the mask no be like a freedom fighter she’s freedom fighter when she is in her own home Fred Meyer is not her home

    • MICHAEL HUGHES says:

      You certainly have the right to your opinion, but it is a scientific fact that no masks, except N95 masks worn properly (which includes replacing with a new one anytime you touch the mask), work. Period.

    • BluePill says:

      She may be an employee, but she is also a human being. Me wearing sunblock isn’t going to prevent you from getting a sunburn so stop acting like wearing a mask saves those around you or getting an experimental jab prevents those around you from getting sick. Common sense is not common, Alaska let’s do better.

  • Larry Wood says:

    BOYCOTT FRED MEYERS IN PALMER, until the management gets the message.
    Thank you, Joel for getting this story out. This is simply coercion of basest sort.
    Note that the management did not agree to sign a declaration of the vaccine being harmless, because we know that it is not.

  • Kyle says:

    This is completely satirical. As a current employee for the Palmer Fred Meyer, this is completely FALSE. Fred Meyer policy states that if you ARE NOT vaccinated, then you HAVE TO WEAR A MASK. This associate refused to wear a mask. This associate also was NEVER FIRED and is on LOA until further notice. This is why you shouldn’t believe what is put on the Internet. This is SHAMEFUL.

    • Leigh Nelson says:

      You have no clue! I most definitely should have been given a choice to wear a mask or not regardless of the vax! It has been proven to NOT help.
      Think about leave of absence with no pay, it is a roundabout way of being fired but saving their face. No pay is no job.
      This article is spot on!!!

  • Half century in Alaska says:

    Apparently Fed Meyer’s hasn’t heard that there is a PROVEN cure for covid. This cure will not only prevent covid but it will also cure covid.
    A lab rat asks another lab rat if he’s gotten the Covid vaccine.
    “No,” he said, “I’m waiting for the human experiment to be completed.”

    A Distinguished Doctor, testifying before The U S Senate, Claiming Ivermectin Is A Miracle Cure

  • DC says:

    is the associate being pid while on LOA ? same as fired

  • Michael says:

    So, the choices are to either wear an ineffective mask or receive an ineffective EXPERIMENTAL vaccine, both having potential side effects. To demand either is un-Constitutional, unethical, and demoralizing. “We the Sheeple.” Just because you might think I’m a tin-foil nut-job doesn’t mean I’m wrong.
    NOTE: Does anyone notice that the same people that proclaim, “My body, my choice,” won’t allow others to have the same argument when the topic is this vaccine/mask issue?

  • ms. mat-su says:

    Wasilla FM did the same thing to me and my brother. Said we were voluntarily resigning if we didn’t put the mask on (back in November 2020). I asked for a list of appropriate masks and they refused to give us a list of masks but they said there was a list and that they couldn’t show us what masks were okay to wear in the store. (I was tired of wearing the surgical masks that say they don’t stop viruses on the box because I was getting burn rashes from wearing one during a whole 8 hour shift w no mask breaks) HR (Kira) said we needed to show our medical exemption even though my burns from the mask were obvious. We put our two weeks in and won’t work for them or shop there again. They pressure employees into “resigning” when really they’re firing us so it looks like they aren’t firing us so they can avoid unemployment papers and stats affecting their store. I would rather support local Alaskan stores that also share real American values instead of stores that infringe and overstep my freedoms.

  • Ed says:

    Let’s be brutally honest, she was not a “stellar” employee. Stellar employees follow the rules and policies of their employers and don’t go off whining, when they get called out for violating the rules and policies. Every employer has the right to set the rules and policies as they see fit, and every employee either follows them, or leaves. Your employer’s rules and policies are not a buffet, you do not get to pick and choose which ones you want to follow, and Alaska is an at will state, this is true no matter what any of you google super searchers, and outhouse lawyers have to say about it. Those of you that feel the need to harass and threaten the actual “stellar” employees, that have stayed, and continue to serve the undeserving, need to think about that.

    • BluePill says:

      The Jews also did what they were told. They also wore what they were told to wear. Hm… how’d that turn out for them again?

    • NP Adam says:

      Steller employees are able to think for themselves and not just follow orders. Average workers will follow orders, regardless of personal views, and just go along to get along.

  • DC says:

    ok Ed, If your boss tells you to jump off a cliff are you jumping ? Masks don’t work and the jab may kill you!

  • Michael S Totten says:

    Alaska has gone full scale kommiefornia

  • Tracey Keele says:

    I work at the Wasilla FM and was put on an unpaid leave of absence on June 14th because I am unjabbed and refused to wear my mask any longer. I worked as a pharmacy tech and we were told that day all vaxxed in pharmacy could finally remove their masks, as we were lagging behind all other areas in the store due to the nature of our job.
    It has become apparent that the FMs in the same district do not know what to do with the ones who wish to stand up for their rights as human beings.

1 Trackback or Pingback