Sector News

Ideological Diversity In The Workplace In This Time Of Social Change

June 23, 2020
Diversity & Inclusion

In early June, Starbucks told its employees in an internal memo that they weren’t permitted to wear Black Lives Matter apparel.

The precise wording was, “…there are agitators who misconstrue the fundamental principles of the Black Lives Matter movement – and in certain circumstances, intentionally repurpose them to amplify divisiveness.”

Shortly afterwards, in response to protests and the threat of a boycott, the company reversed its decision, stating that they were “partnering with the Starbucks Black Partner Network and Black Starbucks leaders to make 250,000 shirts available to our company-operated partners in U.S. and Canada to affirm support at this critical time in our history.”

The shirt’s graphic contains phrases like “Time for change,” “Stand up,” and “Black Lives Matter.” The company’s statement this time read, “Starbucks stands in solidarity with our Black partners, community and customers, and understand [sic] the desire to express themselves. This is just one step in our journey to make our company and our communities more inclusive.”

What changed? Although Starbucks’ dress code for baristas reads, “You are not permitted to wear buttons or pins that advocate a political, religious or personal issue,” several employees have said that the company exempts, and has at times handed out, buttons supporting LGBTQ rights and marriage equality. Starbucks wasn’t opposed to making a political statement: They were concerned about the divisiveness.

At some point in between the internal memo and the t-shirt announcement, they either decided that it was no longer divisive in the way they thought or that the issues were so important that it didn’t matter even if it were. It is hard to imagine that Starbucks would make a decision likely to have significant negative financial repercussions, making the first option slightly more likely. The first option, that they felt it was no longer divisive enough to be a risk, is consistent with a sentiment that has emerged elsewhere.

By: Ilana Redstone

Source: Forbes

Join the discussion!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related News

January 23, 2021

Unilever rolls out global living wage policy to ensure all suppliers’ employees are paid fairly

Diversity & Inclusion

Unilever is kickstarting a global target to ensure that anyone who provides goods and services to the company earns at least a living wage or income, by 2030. In line with this, the company aims to spend €2 billion (US$2.4 billion) annually with suppliers owned and managed by women, under-represented racial and ethnic groups, people with disabilities and LGBTQI+, by 2025.

January 17, 2021

Chemical industry launches diversity and inclusion scholarship initiative

Diversity & Inclusion

An industry-backed collaboration has launched a program to provide scholarships, internships, mentorship, and leadership development for students pursuing STEM degrees at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

January 10, 2021

The world’s 100 most powerful women – Forbes list 

Diversity & Inclusion

Forbes presents its list of 100 most powerful women in the world currently.

Send this to a friend