Whole Foods Market is reportedly banning its Canadian employees from wearing poppies at work.
The U.S.-based grocery chain told CBC wearing a poppy doesn’t comply with its recently updated uniform policy, but did not explain why. The policy affects employees across 14 of its locations in Canada.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford took to Twitter saying that the policy enforced by Whole Foods is “disgusting and disgraceful.”
It’s disgusting and disgraceful that @WholeFoods has banned poppies for their employees. We will always stand with our veterans. Whole Foods should apologize and immediately reverse this decision. Everyone should wear a poppy #lestweforget.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) November 6, 2020
An employee at the Whole Foods in Ottawa told CBC that she was informed by her supervisor that donning the poppy would be seen as “supporting a cause.”
“I was basically told … if they allowed this one particular cause, then it would open up the door so that they would have to allow or consider allowing other causes,” the employee said.
She added she was shocked and appalled because she was able to wear a poppy—a symbol of remembrance of Canada’s Veterans and those who sacrificed their lives back to the First World War—in the past.
Whole Foods has issued the following statements, reported Chek News.
“The updated company dress code provides our Team Members with one simplified and unified policy to follow when working in our stores. Like many of our policies, our dress code is in place to ensure that we are prioritizing operational safety and serving our customers by keeping the focus in our stores on selling the highest quality food and fulfilling Whole Foods Market’s purpose of Nourishing People and the Planet.
“All Whole Foods Market stores in Canada are proud to be donating to the Legion’s Poppy Campaign this year in honour of Remembrance Day. In total, we are donating more than $8,000 across our stores. Team Members will also have the opportunity to select the Legion to receive additional funds from their store location as part of our community giving program. As in previous years, we invite those in our stores to join us in observing a moment of silence on November 11, at 11 a.m.,” the company said.
In another Twitter post, Ford said “we will introduce legislation that prohibits any employer from banning their staff from wearing a poppy during Remembrance Week.”