Updated: June 27, 2020 07:34 PM
Created: June 27, 2020 04:32 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Wegmans has confirmed that their policy prohibits workers on the job from wearing pins or similar attire of any kind that uses unauthorized imagery, not just Black Lives Matter gear.
The statement comes after a social media post from an employee went viral. The employee, Jae Bates, said in the Facebook post that she was called to the office and told to remove her Black Lives Matter pin after another employee complained.
"I was just about to head back in when I received a call on my department's phone from upper management asking me to come to the office," the 23-year-old Bates told News10NBC. She says that while she immediately had a feeling the call was about the Black Lives Matter pin she was wearing, her suspicions weren't confirmed until she arrived in management's office.
When reached for comment, Wegmans said that the removal was part of their longstanding uniform policy and which prohibits any sort of object displaying images, letters, or logos that aren't Wegmans issued.
"As has always been the case per our longstanding uniform policy, Wegmans employees are not permitted to display images, letters or logos as part of their uniform while working," the company said in a statement. "The uniform policy also states that only Wegmans issued pins are permitted to be worn while at work."
Bates says that while she was not aware of the policy before the meeting, she feels it has been rarely enforced at her store.
"I would have never known that, working in my store, having seen so many pins on employees representing different things, whether it's TV characters or gay pride or breast cancer awareness."
She says that to the best of her knowledge none of those pins have ever been a problem.
While Bates says that while her managers were polite and calm in telling her not to wear it, she still thinks there are some double-standards in how Wegmans is enforcing the policy, noting that the mask policy for Wegmans employees initially did not prohibit any writing or logos until a few weeks ago when Black Lives Matter protests increased.
"Interesting timing," she says.
"I feel like it needs to be a level playing field, if we're going to call this a dress code issue and nothing more, then the dress code needs to be enforced 110 percent, 25-eight."
Bates says she's still waiting to find out if her Black Lives Matter armbands will still be allowed. She says she expects to hear on Monday.
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