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Claim jumper reverses bracelet policy

Claim Jumper Restaurants has changed its employment policy and agreed to allow staffers to wear the cause-related bracelets currently in vogue, a reversal it attributed to the firing of an employee who refused to take off his bracelet.

The chain acknowledged that Brian McKillip was terminated because he defied the chain's prohibition of the bracelets, which were seen as a health hazard. Many operations ban the wearing of bracelets on the job, since the jewelry can snag on equipment or harbor germs.

McKillip wore a bracelet that was sold to raise funds for Lance Armstrong's cancer charity, Livestrong. The group sells some 100,000 bracelets each week, for $1 each. McKillip was adamant about keeping his on, explaining to Claim Jumper management that he'd lost family members to cancer.

News reports indicated that McKillip, who lived and worked in California, and his stepfather, Nevada attorney and cancer survivor George Roberts, had threatened to organize a picket of Claim Jumper restaurants if the chain maintained its policy.

McKillip "has made us aware that there can be very deep and personal emotions behind the bracelets," the family chain said in a statement released Friday. "We therefore have changed our policy to allow employees to wear one cause bracelet per wrist." It requires, however, that the jewelry fit snuggly, and that it be cleaned every time the employee washes his or her hands.

Claim Jumper also agreed to make a $10,000 donation to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, "the equivalent of buying one bracelet for each of our employees," it said in its statement.

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