Poppy ban reversed for frontline McDonald's staff
Published Saturday, November 10, 2012 7:15AM EST
Last Updated Saturday, November 10, 2012 2:35PM EST
This Remembrance Day, employees at Canadian McDonald’s restaurants will be allowed to sport poppies behind the counter thanks to a small, but novel addition to the symbolic pin.
In previous years, cashiers and other frontline employees were prohibited from wearing poppies due to concerns that the attached pin could fall into food and harm a customer.
After some deliberation, McDonald’s says it’s come up with a solution: a pin holder.
The thin, silicone sleeves will be pushed over the tip of the pin. The goal is to keep the poppy snug and secure, similar to the way a pin cushion prevents pins from getting lost.
“In our industry, the challenge has always been food safety,” Jason Patuano, a representative for McDonald’s Canada, told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview. “We had to find a great solution because we definitely support our veterans and Remembrance Day.”
Employees who prepare food, however, are still not allowed to wear poppies. Policy states that they can’t wear any accessories that pose a risk to the food they’re preparing.
“It’s not the poppy that’s the issue. It’s the pin,” said Patuano.
The Royal Canadian Legion, which sometimes sends veterans and volunteers into McDonald’s restaurants to distribute poppies, says it approves of McDonald’s pin holders.
Meanwhile, Patuano said he hopes the solution will be adopted by other industries.
“If more people can wear the poppy it’s just a positive thing,” he said.
Poppy bans, though often unpopular, have been put into place in other parts of the world.
Perhaps most notably, FIFA drew international ire last year when it told soccer players on team England that they couldn’t wear jerseys embroidered with poppies. The soccer agency was concerned that the move would encourage other teams to sport emblems during games.
The ban, however, was overturned after Prince William condemned the rule in a letter to FIFA. In his missive, the Duke of Cambridge said he was “dismayed” by the decree.
Elsewhere, disagreements over poppies have not been related to safety concerns.
Two years ago, clothing chain Hollister made headlines when a staff member at one of its stores in England was instructed to remove a poppy because it wasn’t part of her uniform.
But the woman, then-18-year-old Harriet Phipps, was eventually allowed to don the red flower pin after Hollister’s head officer learned of the dispute. The company then clarified its uniform policy, telling employees that they could wear poppies.
However, that didn’t stop Phipps from launching a petition a year later, calling for legislation that would prevent businesses from banning poppies.