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Amazon com : Canada PM Trudeau Calls Whole Foods Uniform Policy 'Silly'

11/06/2020 | 01:31pm

By Paul Vieira

OTTAWA--Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau singled out Amazon.com Inc.'s Whole Foods Market on Friday for criticism, branding as "silly" the retailer's policy that prohibits employees in Canada from wearing an imitation poppy to commemorate fallen soldiers ahead of the country's Remembrance Day.

Mr. Trudeau joined a handful of senior Canadian officials who issued rebukes of Whole Foods' uniform policy. The grocer's dress code prohibits slogans, messages or logos that aren't company related. That is being enforced in Canada, where employees say they aren't allowed to wear an imitation poppy in the days leading up to Remembrance Day, which falls on Nov. 11.

The day marks the end of the first World War, and there is a tradition of Canadians wearing a red poppy, which are sold by the Royal Canadian Legion to raise money for veterans.

"I think Whole Foods has made a silly mistake, and I am hoping they will correct very quickly," Mr. Trudeau said at a press conference. He said Canada's minister for veteran's affairs has spoken to the grocer, and hopes the public outcry--which grew Friday--will get the company's attention.

A representative from Whole Foods didn't respond to a request for comment.

Besides Mr. Trudeau, other senior officials have weighed in with criticism of Whole Foods. "All Canadians should be able to wear the poppy, no matter where they work," said Canada's Defense Minister, Harjit Sajjan, in a message posted from his official Twitter account.

Doug Ford, the premier of the Canadian province of Ontario, where Whole Foods operates seven stores, said he will introduce a law that would prohibit employers from banning its workers from wearing a poppy ahead of Remembrance Day.

Lawyers for Whole Foods are trying to have a class-action lawsuit against the company dismissed, which alleges the grocer violated the U.S. Civil Rights Act when it discriminated against employees for wearing masks that showed support for Black Lives Matter in the aftermath of George Floyd's death.

Write to Paul Vieira at paul.vieira@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

11-06-20 1330ET

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