Amidst nationwide demands for racial justice, UPS is the latest company to take a progressive stance. Last week, UPS officially eliminated antiquated rules against employee appearances, now allowing for natural black hairstyles and facial hair such as afros and braids. The delivery giant also moved to eliminate gender-specific rules as part of a wider overhaul to get rid of stringent appearance guidelines, which apply to uniform length, as well as covering up tattoos and piercings. Interestingly, these moves come several months after UPS appointed Carol Tomé the company’s first female CEO.
UPS is One of the World’s Largest Companies, Reflected in the Diversity of its Workforce
UPS has more than 525,000 employees of all different cultures, spread throughout dozens of countries worldwide. For a company as large as UPS is, and with such a diverse workforce, it’s hard to believe it would be so behind the times. Regardless, the change comes amidst a new era for the delivery giant, after Carol Tomé became the first female chief executive in UPS’ 113-year history.
According to UPS insiders, Tomé “listened to feedback from employees and heard that changes in this area would make them more likely to recommend UPS as an employer.”
In a statement regarding the new policies, UPS spokespeople said the following:
“These changes reflect our values and desire to have all UPS employees feel comfortable, genuine and authentic while providing service to our customers and interacting with the general public.”
UPS Allowing for Natural Black Hairstyles is the Right Move, and Goes Along with Recent Trends to Promote Racial Justice
The killing of George Floyd shook the world, and galvanized people across America to fight for racial justice and equality. As a result, several companies enacted measures to eliminate racist brands and imaging, such as PepsiCo’s Aunt Jemima Maple Syrup, and Land O’Lake’s butter products.
Corporations aren’t the only ones changing things up. The band formerly known as Lady Antebellum changed its name to “Lady A,” since antebellum-style homes were long associated with the civil war and slavery in the south. Universities such as USC and Princeton have also changed names of buildings, wiping them off structures named after historical figures who supported eugenics.
Still, while renaming buildings and eliminating racial-specific guidelines for employee appearances are all steps in the right direction, modern society still has a long way to go in the battle for true equality.