Albertsons Companies, Inc.
The Office of Ethics and Compliance
250 Parkcenter Blvd., Boise, ID 83706
My family has shopped for years at Shaw’s and Star Market. Recently, our local Shaw’s instituted a face mask requirement, which I assume has come from Albertsons Companies leadership.
Having read Albertson’s Code of Business Conduct & Ethics, I have confidence that leadership at Albertsons knows that no store may enact a policy that violates established law. According to U.S. federal law, civil rights law, and Title II of the Civil Rights Act, no individual may be denied entry to a business establishment based on their religious beliefs or medical condition. To Albertson’s credit, the in-store sign announcing this new policy did include mention of the lawful exception to the use of this medical device, which I appreciate. Yet while those with medical conditions can shop mask-free, I believe this policy endangers your shoppers in other ways: the very real threats from the mob mentality that this policy has bred.
The terror instilled in the vast majority—whether based in reality or not—has begun to manifest itself in downright nasty behavior on the part of many in the mask-wearing public. “Mild” forms include dirty looks, snide remarks, and verbal threats to more serious forms of actual physical assault, including a story I heard about a man getting pelted by walnuts (in another grocery—not a Shaw’s or Star) thrown at him by multiple mask-wearing assailants. …
Because of the conditions this policy has created, including the anxiety of friends over the idea of grocery shopping, I write to you today. With the goal of saving a lot of heartache and stress, while staving off possible physical injury, lawsuits and bad publicity, I ask for the following:
Improved/ongoing training for your managers, district managers, clerks, and employees. This training must include the reminder that they are not law enforcement officers and that “impersonating” one violates the law
Improved signage throughout your stores informing those wearing masks—whether employees or customers—that they may not verbally or physically assault any one of your customers for being without a mask
These signs could include reference to the Americans With Disabilities Act informing/reminding all shoppers of the federal protections under this act—and the penalties for violating them
Consider setting aside mask-free shopping hours
o These mask-free shopping hours would ensure your non-mask-wearing customers the safe and equal enjoyment of your facilities as required by federal law
o These mask-free shopping hours could also be for employees who face harm from non-stop use of masks. (Some may be experiencing harm, but fear the loss of their job if they refuse.)
o Those who think they can get sick by being exposed to non-mask wearers can shop during the hours designated for mask wearers
o If mask-free hours prove too burdensome, then I ask that Albertson’s add security to all of its stores. Uniformed security will help to ensure the safety of those who must shop, but who cannot wear this medical device due to their medical conditions
According to Albertsons Companies Code of Business Conduct & Ethics, Albertsons Companies have a commitment to “strict adherence to the highest standards of business ethics and requires all employees to conduct themselves and their business affairs accordingly and in a manner consistent with both the letter and spirit of all applicable laws and regulations (including those prohibiting unlawful discrimination or harassment) and the Policies.” By instituting what I have outlined above, Albertson’s could exemplify its commitment to these values and be a leader within the retail industry, going one step further to set the standard for other retailers in ensuring a safe and pleasant shopping experience for all.
I look forward to your response.
Kathleen11:49 pm on July 26, 2020 Email Becky Akers