Calling All Open to All Customers: Take Action Against Retail Worker Discrimination!

Restaurant workers afraid to enforce COVID-19 safety precautions for fear of losing tips.

Customers spitting on workers at Disney World after refusing to comply with COVID-19 guidelines.

Starbucks employees being verbally harassed by anti-mask customers.

A McDonalds employee physically assaulted when asking a customer to adhere to the company’s rules over COVID-19 safety measures.

As states across the country scale back COVID-19 restrictions, employees at many businesses — from retailers and grocery stores to restaurants and small businesses — are once again facing a resurgence of harassment, similar to the hostility directed toward frontline workers earlier in the pandemic. Many companies are adhering to CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19 safety measures regardless of changes at the state level, which has resulted in confusion and conflict over mask mandates in indoor spaces.

As tensions run high and retailers are asked to enforce safety measures, frontline workers often can face the brunt of customer frustration, which can often manifest in racist or discriminatory ways. While retailers have long trained frontline workers to respect and serve a diverse customer base, today customers are being asked to join as part of the solution.

As customers, what can you do to combat bad behavior directed against retail workers?

Customer Action Center: You Can Pledge to Make a Difference

  • Bystander resources created by Hollaback!, which designs and distributes trainings and campaigns on discrimination and harassment;
  • In-depth videos about allyship and implicit bias; and
  • A new Customer Pledge where consumers can affirm the values of being Open to All. For the first time, customers can collectively signal their commitment to being Open to All.

Similar to Open to All’s Business Pledge, the Customer Pledge allows customers to declare that they believe everyone — including employees, visitors, vendors, clients and other customers — should feel safe, respected, and accepted regardless of who they are.

Open to All partners with businesses to build a stronger community where all customers feel a deep sense of belonging and connection, whether they make a purchase or not. We strive to create a welcoming and safe environment everyone — including employees, visitors, customers, vendors and clients — regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion or disability and any other qualities that make us unique.

Now, we’re partnering with you. As a customer at Open to All businesses, join us in our growing campaign! Sign the Customer Pledge and commit to treating employees and other customers with respect and dignity. This is a journey where we will learn together, listen to each other, and create a more inclusive America.

At a time of deep divisions, we’re joining together from all walks of life and work to build a thriving and inclusive nation where all are welcome.