Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Responses from Target and McDonald's

You may remember my recent posts on Target calling the police on a nursing mother and the discrimination of a transgender woman at McDonald's when she applied for a job.  I sent my angry emails, and thought I would share the responses I got.
The following is the response from Target:

Dear [FilthyGrandeur],
As a family-oriented retailer, Target has a long-standing practice that supports breastfeeding in our stores.
Target has a long-standing corporate policy that supports breastfeeding in our stores. Guests who choose to breastfeed in public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable. Additionally, we support the use of fitting rooms for women who wish to breastfeed their babies, even if others are waiting to use the fitting rooms.
We regret that the situation escalated and have apologized to the guest for her experience. To ensure nursing mothers feel welcome in our stores we are reinforcing our breastfeeding policy with our team in all 1,744 storesacross the country.
At Target, we work hard to provide you with an enjoyable shoppingexperience. If you ever have concerns during your visit, please visit the Guest Service Desk and ask to speak to the Guest Service Team Leader. They'll make every attempt to resolve the issue while you're in the store.
We appreciate the opportunity to share this information with you.
And the following is the response from McDonald's:

Hello [FilthyGrandeur]:
Thank you for taking the time to contact McDonald's and for giving us an opportunity to provide you with the following information.
Please know that McDonald's has a strict policy prohibiting any form of discrimination or harassment in hiring, termination, or any other aspect of employment in the organization. We require all employees to comply with local, state and federal employment laws.
Upon learning about this matter, the restaurant investigated the claims to gather the facts, and action was taken consistent with their employment policies.The behavior of the individual in question is not reflective of McDonald's employment policies.
Further, this individual acted outside the scope of his authority and was not responsible for hiring. The individual in question is no longer employed by the restaurant.
Again, thank you for contacting McDonald's.
McDonald's Customer Response Center
In regards to the Target situation, I work for Target.  I have not heard this "reinforcement" at my store.  I don't know.  Maybe I missed it.  But one would think that if this was really something that Target wished to reinforce, they would have made sure that every employee is made aware of Target's policies.  But that's just me.

Every "guest" should be allowed to breastfeed in the store without being made uncomfortable--except that the discomfort of one employee was apparently more important than the concern for the breastfeeding mother--she endured unnecessary discomfort and embarrassment when the police arrived.  But, you know.  It "escalated."  Or something.

As for the McDonald's response, I'm glad to know that the manager has been fired.  However, I find it all kinds of interesting that the response doesn't mention the trans woman who was the victim of the discrimination (and harassment--let's not forget the voicemail!).  I mean, yeah, it's great that the asshole was fired, and that there are laws and policies which McDonald's adheres to, but that doesn't mean a whole lot to the person who nonetheless had to face the hate and transphobia when applying for a job.  It still happened.

McDonald's and Target can invoke and cite their precious policies all they want, but these events occurred to actual people with actual lives and actual feelings, and sometimes policies don't mean a damn thing if the employees don't know about them.

Now, I realize that these companies cannot possibly guarantee that every one of their employees won't act like asshats at some point or other.  But I guess I'm still expecting more.

I am impressed that I got responses at all, but without substantial actions (or even a mention of the victims in either situation) it's just a lot of nonsense about vague and apparently magical policies.


luvandfamily said...



cinnamon girl said...

Good on ya for writing to them both!

Those standard lip service responses really irk me. Any plans to write back to Target asking them when the 'reinforcement' will occur at your store?

FilthyGrandeur said...

i'm thinking i should. i thought about bringing it up at one of our quick shift meetings, but was afraid of being stigmatized as the one woman whining about women's issues (sad, i know, because i try not to care about this). plus we just got a new HR person, and she doesn't seem very approachable to me. so i'll be looking into other ways to contact Target's HQ, and let them know that i'm not just some customer who won't know whether the policies are enforced or not...