Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton Hollister employee 'told to take off poppy'

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Media captionHarriet Phipps: "He just said it wasn't part of the uniform and that it's not company policy"

A Hollister clothes shop assistant was told to remove her Remembrance poppy as it was not part of the uniform.

Harriet Phipps, 18, said the assistant manager at the Southampton branch had told her to remove it.

Miss Phipps initially refused to take it off, but was made to feel so "uncomfortable" she eventually did.

Hollister, which is owned by US giant Abercrombie and Fitch, said it had reviewed its policy and staff may now wear a poppy on Remembrance Day itself.

Miss Phipps said she wore her poppy in honour of a friend currently serving in Afghanistan.

Fought for country

"It did make me very upset. I was so angry, I didn't expect it at all," she told the BBC.

"I kept it on and then I did get told again to take it off and I felt really pressured and quite intimidated so I did take it off because I thought I had to.

"He [the supervisor] just said it wasn't part of the uniform and that it's not company policy.

"But I don't suppose it is part of any company's uniform when it comes to the 11th of November.

"It's [showing] respect for people who've fought for our country.

"It's taking it back to values of why we're all here. It doesn't have to be for World War I or World War II, it's people fighting today as well."

An Abercrombie and Fitch spokesman said: "The appearance of our models in the stores is a critical part of the A&F store experience, and therefore it is true that Abercrombie & Fitch has a strict dress code for its store associates.

'Token of appreciation'

"However, as an American company that has been in existence since 1892, we very much appreciate the sacrifices of both British and American servicemen and women in the World Wars and in military conflicts that continue to this day.

"Our company policy is currently to permit associates to wear a poppy as a token of this appreciation on Remembrance Day.

"In the future, we will revisit, in light of local custom, whether to extend the policy to the days or weeks leading up to Remembrance Day."

It is not the first time Abercrombie and Fitch has been involved in a disagreement with staff over its uniform policy.

In August 2009, following a tribunal, a disabled woman was awarded £8,000 for unlawful harassment after she was made to work in the stockroom of the company's Savile Row store in central London after wearing a cardigan to cover her prosthetic arm.

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