Meijer employee says she was forced to remove Black Lives Matter mask at work


  • Eric Glenn /

A Meijer employee in South Haven said her boss ordered her to remove a Black Lives Matter face mask after a customer complained about it.

Tamika Sullivan said she was wearing a mask bearing the letters “BLM” for less than an hour into her shift on June 19 when management said the face covering violated a store policy that prohibits political attire.

“I started crying and I broke down because I really felt like my rights were getting taken away from me,” she told WWMT-TV. “They told me that it can’t be political, but it’s not actually political. It’s three letters. And because of one customer complaint?”

Given the option of taking off the mask or wearing it inside out, Sullivan decide to go home instead.

“Meijer has specific guidelines for team member uniforms, which include face coverings,” Frank Guglielmi, senior director for Meijer’s corporate communications, said in a statement. “We provide all our team members with face masks and if they choose to use their own mask, they need to adhere to our guidelines for neutrality.”

In June, Starbucks reversed its policy that had prohibited Black Lives Matter attire after receiving criticism and threats of a boycott.

Last week, the Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency, said federal employees are permitted to wear Black Lives Matter attire in the workplace because the phrase did not amount to “inherently political activity.”

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.