Gap is asking shoppers to help de-escalate abuse on retail staff, after a rise in acts of aggression against store workers of color during the pandemic
Gapsaid it has seen an increase in acts of aggression against its store workers of color.
- It will join retailers on a campaign encouraging customers to help de-escalate abusive incidents.
- Aggression against store workers became a complex issue over the course of the pandemic.
Gap says it is seeing a rise in acts of aggression against store workers of color and it is calling on shoppers to step up.
The retailer has teamed up with a group of competitors - including H&M, American Eagle, and Ralph Lauren - on a campaign to encourage customers to show support for store workers that face abuse. The campaign also calls on customers to help de-escalate these situations through various methods of distraction, such as pretending to know the worker that is being harassed.
Customers will be invited to sign a pledge to support workers in participating stores and receive more information about how to help. The campaign, which will appear online and on in-store signage, is spearheaded by nonprofits Open to All and Hollaback.
Chris Nelson, senior vice president of asset protection at Gap Inc., told the Associated Press that the chain had seen a rise in aggression against store workers of color during the pandemic.
"We spent a lot of time with COVID-19 responses, but there was another global pandemic - systemic racism," Nelson said. "It is not OK. That is not part of our values."
There has been a rise in acts of aggression against store workers and security guards who have been required to enforce safety measures, such as social distancing and mask-wearing in stores during the pandemic. Workers are often required to make sure new rules are being enforced despite receiving little or no guidance from management on how to handle a volatile person.
According to a statement from Open to All announcing the new campaign, hostility toward workers of color, along with women and LGBT workers, has been especially prevalent during this time.
"Given the rise in hate
Some commentators have predicted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recent relaxing of rules around wearing masks is likely to make the situation worse for store workers this summer.
Larry Barton, a professor of crisis management and public safety at the University of Central Florida, said that conflicts are inevitable because of this.
Workers and business owners are "expected to be referee, pseudo police, and mask enforcer," Barton wrote in a recent email to Insider.
It puts both businesses and workers in a "horrible situation," he said, especially as the former is grappling with labor shortages and trying to attract new workers that have been put off by demanding customers and low pay.
If you have a story to share please contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (646) 768-4716 using a non-work phone, by email to email@example.com, or Twitter DM at @MarySHanbury.
- COP28 set to kick off from Nov 30 — UAE hopeful for deal on renewable energy tripling, doubling energy efficiency
- Family Man Manoj Bajpayee bats for movie heroes who like ‘the common man’
- Gandhar Oil IPO allotment – How to check allotment, GMP, listing date and more
- White collar roles more at threat from AI
- Market cap of BSE-listed firms hits record high of Rs 331 lakh crore; just shy of entering $4-trillion club