Black Lives Matter: Large corporations choose to regulate their employees’ attire

Photo by Chris Henry on Unsplash

Many corporations across the United States have recently decided to use their platform to either support or regulate the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. For example, a few airlines have decided to take a stand and allow BLM pins to be worn by all employees if they so desire. Delta Airlines was the first to design their own rendition of the Black Lives Matter pin for their flight attendants to wear, and American Airlines soon followed, issuing a statement of support. 

“American Airlines believes in equity and inclusion for all. In light of the appropriate attention to lives of Black Americans, we will allow team members who wish to wear a Black Lives Matter pin to do so if they choose,” read a statement from American Airlines provided to USA TODAY by representative Sarah Jantz. 

While some employees frowned upon this decision from American Airlines, saying it goes against their own belief that “all lives matter,” American Airlines made it clear that it is an option and not a requirement for their flight attendants. 

“One symbolic way to show our support is through a uniform pin,” said one American Airline employee. “We are working with our Black Professional Network on designing a specific pin that may be worn with the uniform. In the interim until this pin is produced, to recognize the significance of this moment in history, we are allowing people to wear a Black Lives Matter Pin.”

Outside of the sky, this debate continues. Companies such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Taco Bell and Starbucks decided to regulate the Black Lives Matter attire and restrict employees from taking a stand with their clothing and masks, to avoid controversy. 

Starbucks issued a statement to their employees explaining that Black Lives Matter buttons were verboten because they violated dress code policies forbidding attire that advocates for “political, religious or personal issues” and could be used to “amplify divisiveness,” but the company quickly retracted it after Buzzfeed brought the memo to the public. 

Taco Bell also issued a retraction statement after sending an employee home in Ohio for wearing BLM masks, but Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have stood by their managers and have yet to issue a statement in support of their employee’s attire. 

When asked by the North Star, Trader Joe’s said “We understand this is a time for us to use our voice, and we appreciate the desire to hear how we plan to take action, sooner rather than later. It’s also critical that we take the time and steps that bring about the most meaningful change. When we say we’re committed to listening, caring, acting and continuously improving, we mean it.”

While this is a tough topic to speak about because of the tension going on in the United States, many companies have found it imperative to do so, in spite of fear of backlash or losing business. The NFL, NBA and MLB have all spoken in support toward Black Lives Matter, and they are huge corporations with big support and continue to have support. Many big corporations agree with this statement and have even given millions of dollars to the cause to show full support, such as Apple, Amazon and Microsoft.

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