BLOOMFIELD TWP., Mich. (FOX 2) - Some Kroger employees say they were told to cover up Black Lives Matter shirts at a metro Detroit location.
"My heart was broken, I cried," said one employee. "Management came up to me and told me they support the cause but I need to put an apron on top of that shirt."
She said that interaction at the Telegraph and Long Lake location in Bloomfield Hills left her questioning workplace policies.
This employee, who wished to remain anonymous, says she and some other employees, both Black and white were wearing supporting Black Lives Matter.
"They came out with a box of aprons and they passed them out to the whole story and I'm like if you all support the cause why do I have to cover it up," she said.
That's when the employee maintains a manager told her this.
"Customers calling from Bloomfield Hills and are complaining about our shirts," the manager said.
The employee says management also told employees to stop wearing a mask with the same message.
"Even when we put on the Black Lives Matter masks, we were told it was offensive," she said.
The employee alleges the store supports other movements.
"I am confused, we support Breast Cancer Awareness," she said.
Fox 2 reached out to Kroger and we're told in part
"Our uniform policy must be clean, professional, and without visible pictures, logos, words or abbreviations."
"Why is it now that Kroger now has a uniform policy? Because we where we want to wear," she asked.
But corporate officials tell FOX 2 their uniform policy is not new.
In fact, they say all associates must wear aprons to show that, "We are here to serve our customers."
The grocery store chain says it won't alter its dress code and in July it worked with a Black-owned supplier to produce wristbands representing values and the store's commitment to standing with Black employees and the Black community against racism.
But this employee believes the store decided to side with profits over their employees.
"Forget what's going on in the world, forget that a man just got shot seven times in the back in front of his kids, we need these couple of dollars from these customers in Bloomfield Hills," she said.
Kroger released the following statements:
"Our uniform policy must be clean, professional, and without visible pictures, logos, words or abbreviations including masks (ONLY exception is Local UFCW 876 mask or company provided mask). All associates must wear aprons to show that we are here to serve our customers, communities and each other."
"At Kroger, we strive to offer a workplace that is uplifting, inclusive and consistent with Our Values: Integrity, Honesty, Diversity, Inclusion, Safety and Respect. Many associates have expressed a desire to stand together with their communities and show their support through their clothing, facial coverings and accessories. While we are not adjusting our existing dress code, rules or policies, we acknowledge our associates’ feedback and want all to feel supported and heard.
"To offer a more consistent solution, we produced wristbands and made them available to all associates. Working with our partners, including a Black-owned supplier, we produced two wristband options, which were distributed in early July: one that represents our commitment to Standing Together with our Black associates, customers and communities against racism in all forms, and the other to serve as a reminder of Our Values that guide us."