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Anger at cosmetics chain who ban poppies

by Simon Boyle. Published Wed 04 Nov 2009 16:11, last updated: 13/11/09

An MP is calling for a boycott of shops that ban staff from wearing Poppies.

The row erupted after staff at cosmetics firm Bodycare were threatened with disciplinary action for wearing Poppies because they are "not part of their uniform".

A worker at one store told how she was humiliated and ordered to remove a Poppy that she had pinned to her lapel.

The Bodycare chain employs over 1600 staff nationwide, and has an annual turnover of #123 million pounds.

But it has emerged that the high streen giant Bodycare is not the only national store to ban staff from wearing Poppies.

According to the British Legion the Bodycare ban is only the tip of the iceberg of stores that ban staff from wearing Poppies in their employee regulations.

Bodycare worker Catherine Barr told of her dismay when she was ordered to remove her poppy at the branch in Wigan, Lancs.

Catherine, 49, said: "I turned up for work wearing my Poppy and was told by management I couldn't wear it for work.

"I was gobsmacked. I refused to remove it. I was quite upset and really annoyed.

"There were customers there and they were just as shocked as I was. I can't imagine a single person would agree with this.

"I have worn a Poppy every year I have worked here, but apparently I should not have.

"Because I refused to take it off, they called the area manager and they came down and I had a meeting with them.

"In the end, I still had to remove it, otherwise I was facing the prospect of a disciplinary hearing.

"I wasn't asking Bodycare to support it, I was just asking to be able to wear a Poppy for work."

Bodycare said its policy extends to all "charity pins" but armed services veterans and the British Legion condemned the ban.

But Labour MP Rosie Cooper said that bans of shop staff wearing Poppies is "disgraceful".

West Lancashire Labour MP Rosie Cooper said: "The Poppy Appeal holds a very special place in the hearts and minds of the nation and a ban on wearing a Poppy has to be challenged on all occasions.

"I would suggest that a public boycott of stores that ban staff from wearing Poppies is the correct answer.

"That is the quickest and most effective way to send the message to the managements that the public do not condone such policies."

The Royal British Legion disclosed that a growing number of high street retailers ban staff from wearing poppies

A British Legion spokesman said: "The fact that is that Bodycare are not alone in this, it is not as unusual as people might think.

"We are never critical of businesses which decline to allow their staff to wear Poppies or Poppy collections on the premises.

"It is a matter of choice for companies to decide which charities they support and when."

A spokesman for GR and MM Blackledge, Bodycare's parent company, said: "Employees are only allowed to wear their uniform and charitable pins would not be considered part of the uniform and they would not be allowed to wear them."

*** Update - boydcare later withdrew their ban. See


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"Nothing to do with Body SHOP it is Body CARE. " Carol, Cleveland around 2 years, 11 months ago

"I cannot believe that the Bodyshop has banned its workers for the wearing of a poppy. I shall never enter the Bodyshop again." Bird, Sandhurst around 2 years, 11 months ago


"Just want to point out to Jan from Staffordshire that this is NOT about Body SHOP... it's about BodyCARE. As you say- Anita would be appaled" Alice, Exeter around 2 years, 12 months ago

"The wearing of poppies can have nothing to do with charity but about respect. Bodyshop et al have lost my custom forever. Disgraceful." Browny, Leeds around 2 years, 12 months ago

"@ Jay Horgan & Vee.....Please note: The shop concerned is BODYCARE not body shop! Please read carefully rather than assuming!" G Wisbey, Maidstone around 2 years, 12 months ago

"The compnay is BODYCARE not BODYSHOP Jay! i work for bodyshop and they ahve not banned poppys what soever!" lisa, wiltshire around 2 years, 12 months ago

"i work for the Bodyshop and we are getting mixed up with Bodycare ... we are proud to wear poppies... get facts right" allison, leicester around 2 years, 12 months ago

"Yes,Anita Roddick would have been horrified but it is BODYCARE not BODYSHOP who are referred too in this article,please do not mix up the tw" Amanda, Rugby around 2 years, 12 months ago

"@Jay Horgan, I work at the Bodyshop head office and I can assure you right now that it's a load of rubbish. I'm wearing mine right now! " Tracy, Littlehampton around 2 years, 12 months ago

"What an absolute disgrace,whats the matter with people these days ??Well i will never shop there again.!" margaret jones, hednesford around 2 years, 12 months ago

"Who do these people think they are dictating to us " Ruth Allen, Kingsbridge around 2 years, 12 months ago

"This is an absolute digusting disgrace! The Poppy is not a charitable item it is a part of our Heritige. My wife wont shop there anymore!!" Mr Bradshaw, Liverpool around 2 years, 12 months ago

"Uhh...Jay Horgan, where does it say BodySHOP? All I see is BodyCARE" Jessica, Montreal around 3 years ago

"PLEASE get it right it has NOTHING to do with THE BODY SHOP it is BODY CARE. DON'T BOYCOTT US at THE BODY SHOP we allow POPPIES!" Sarah Tremlett, Nottingham around 3 years ago

"Bodyshop, you should be ashamed! I have a son in the RAF who has nearly completed six months in Afghan! " Kathryn Turner, Rotherham around 3 years ago

"Oh, well, we wont be spending any more money in their shops!" Julian, Ipswich around 3 years ago

"if it wasn't for servicemen like me you wouldn't have the poppy seeds to put in your products, they grow in afganistan foolish people." luke corden, plymouth around 3 years ago

"Serious screw up Bodyshop. Do you think Anita Roddick would have approved? Customer for 20 yrs - no longer!" Jay Horgan, Staffordshire around 3 years ago

"people power I think it would be good if somehow a list was made of every company that does this and we boycott them" david morton, Wirral around 3 years ago

"hang your heads in shame all you heads of management who imposed this ban. expect huge losses in profits you losers!" julia, middlesbrough around 3 years ago

"i think it's disgusting that staff are not allowed to wear poppies, who the hell do these people think they are, i will never go there again" julie chandler, macclesfield around 4 years, 11 months ago

"I would like a list of all the companies/stores who ban their staff from wearing poppies. That way, I can easily boycot the lot of them. " Ann Comerford, Harrogate around 4 years, 11 months ago

"i work for body care and i completely agree its outrageous, the management need to sort themselves out!!" Laura, Birmingham around 4 years, 11 months ago

"Lest we forget!!! To shop at Bodycare....Never again ..." Patricia , Staffordshire around 4 years, 11 months ago

"Oh Dear! I suppose Body Care won't be market any Christmas ranges as this would just be deemed "seasonal"! An absolute disgrace!" Sparky Ford, Wolverhampton around 4 years, 11 months ago

"I was told of this ban via a post on my message board.ALL other posters are disgusted at this,and without exception,declared Body Shop No-Go" vee, essex around 4 years, 12 months ago

"This is a major error this company has made. My family and I will never buy their products again." Peter Darrigan, Southport around 4 years, 12 months ago

"Sad,Sad,Sad. Unless they change their mind we shall never,never,never, use the store in Clitheroe again." John, Clitheroe around 4 years, 12 months ago

"I will never shop at Bodycare and neither will a lot of my friends." A Comerford, Harrogate around 4 years, 12 months ago

"The u turn from Body Care is too little too late-we will NEVER shop there again-so un patriotic" Lis, Lancs around 4 years, 12 months ago

"How sad. It is difficult to imagine the narrow mindset of any Director or Manager who can ignore the debt we owe to our armed forces" Derek , Leyland around 4 years, 12 months ago

"Simple answer, store enjoying fruits of fought for freedoms. Shoppers have freedom not to shop there." Rob Bain, Derby around 4 years, 12 months ago

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