Not only has the recent controversy over Target's transgender bathroom policy taken over the news, but it has has divided the nation and resulted in plenty of backlash, including plans by some individuals to boycott the store indefinitely. Unfortunately, despite the fact it is 2016, there are quite a few more companies with major discriminatory policies in place, though they haven't been as well publicized. The following takes a look at the Target corporate policy shrouded in controversy and well as introduces you to more companies with policies that are just as egregious.
A Quick Recap of the Controversial Policy
The corporate policy essentially states that shoppers at the retail giant can choose to use whichever bathroom or fitting room that corresponds with the gender they identify with. While some people believe this is a step in the right direction for transgender shoppers, others believe it only gives sexual predators easy access to potential victims. Only time will tell how this situation plays out.
Now that you're up-to-date on the Target situation, it's time to delve into five companies with policies that are just as bad, if not worse.
Tyson Foods and Perdue Foods
After conducting extensive research, which included reviewing corporate documents and literature over a two year period, Oxfam determined that Tyson Foods and Perdue Foods, two of the top companies in the poultry industry, have multiple discriminatory policies in place . Other companies, including Pilgrim's Pride and Sanderson Farms, were also found to have similar policies. Together, these four companies control approximately 60% of the domestic market.
According to Oxfam's lengthy report, it's not unusual for employees at each of these four companies to stand for 12 straight hours, with a single 30-minute break. Pausing to use the bathroom or even blow their nose can result in penalties for employees, while injuries rarely result in workers' compensation benefits. It is important to note that these practices clearly contradict what is written in the corporate policy. However, Oxfam more than proved that these things happen everyday.
As the fifth most profitable airline in the United State, Frontier Airlines rakes in millions of dollars every quarter . Although they are turning a healthy profit, Frontier has corporate policies in place that blatantly discriminate against pregnant and breastfeeding employees.
For example, pilots with medical clearance can work through their 32nd week of pregnancy . They are then, required to use sick and/ or vacation time for the duration of their pregnancy and into their maternity leave, which means most have long periods of unpaid leave. No suitable temporary reassignments are offered. In addition, a recent suit filed by four female pilots allege the company does not provide breaks or non-bathroom locations to express breast milk, which the airline has admitted to. However, they do say they have made good-faith efforts to find a suitable spot.
Gordon Food Services (GFS)
As North America's largest privately owned food service distributor, Gordon Food Services had more than $11.7 billion in sales in 2014 . Instead of celebrating, their amazing success, they, instead, were working to create corporate policies that kept women out of their warehouses. In fact, they have been investigated twice for this practice and were even fined more than $1.85 million . So, what are they doing to keep qualified women from filling open laborer positions? Simple, they instituted strength tests, among other things, into their pre-hire process. According to the US Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFFCP), this is a big no-no.
While they were under investigation, the OFCCP determined they hired 300 male laborers, but just six female laborers. This was made worse for GFS because they have been awarded federal contracts to provide non-perishable and perishable food to government entities, including schools. Has the company finally learned their lesson or will they find themselves under investigation again in the near future?
CKE Restaurants Inc. (more commonly known as Carl's Jr and Hardees/ Red Burrito)
The burger company,which is arguably best known for their overtly sexy ads that really have nothing to do with burgers (Kate Upton, Paris Hilton, and Heidi Klum are just a few of the women ogled in their commercial and print ads.) has a long history of discriminatory actions, especially when it comes to abortions and homosexuality. Carl Karcher, the owner, never really lets an opportunity to discriminate, whether blatantly or in a more subtle manner, pass him by. For the fiscal year ending in January 2016, the company reported an annual revenue of an impressive $1.3 billion .
Despite their sales, the company, which has extensively lobbied against raising the minimum wage, has a corporate policy in place that prohibits paying overtime to managers who work more than 40 hours a week . According to Andrew F. Puzder, CEO of Carl's Jr., “fast food restaurant managers prefer their “stature” to the economic benefits of overtime pay.” Well, obviously (eye roll). As long as you get to call yourself "manager", it's completely okay to work 50 or more hours a week, yet only be paid for 40.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has investigated the company for discrimination in the past and has awarded settlements for racial discrimination .
Recently, the company made headlines again when they announced plans to pursue the possibility of restaurants without actual employees. This is in response to rising minimum wages throughout the US.
A Laundry List of Companies
By the way, if you are considering boycotting Target, there are a few more companies to add to the list. The following companies also support allowing individuals to use the bathroom of the gender they identify as .
- Whole Foods, Starbucks
- Apple, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google Ventures, Etsy, eBay, Yahoo, Pinterest, Airbnb, Facebook, Pandora, Dropbox, Yelp, Tumblr,
- Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Visa, John Hancock Financial
- Coca-Cola North America, Kelloggs
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Worldwide, REI, Marriott
- Williams-Sonoma, Levis, Gilt, Estee Lauder, American Apparel, Goldman Sachs, Barnes and Noble, Kohler Co., Miramax
- GE, Logitech, Intel, Cisco
Unfortunately, it appears discrimination is alive and well in some of the United State's biggest (and most profitable) companies.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker