Leaked internal memo reveals controversial changes for all Woolworths staff: ‘Too far’

A leaked internal memo to all Woolworths staff has revealed the controversial changes that’s raising eyebrows.

7NEWS.com.au has been sent a copy of the letter, written by a senior member of Woolworths management, which was sent on February 19 — two days before the shock exit of CEO Brad Banducci.

The memo — titled “Woolworths Dress Standards” — outlines the various changes that management have made in regards to uniforms and clothing that team members are allowed to wear.

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The letter said “poor dress standards that may pose a potential food safety risk and/or injury in our stores” had been observed on Woolies staff, sparking the crackdown.

Speaking to 7NEWS.com.au, one employee said he was unhappy with two of the changes; to staff name badges and the polo shirts they’re required to wear.

The memo states that team members are now only allowed to wear the Woolworths black polo shirt — or a plain black polo shirt — instead of the green attire that employees have worn for years.

This memo was sent to Woolworths staff on February 19. Credit: 7NEWS.com.au

It also says workers are not allowed to wear stickers on their name badges, a move which has created controversy.

Traditionally, staff have been permitted to wear stickers which show the indigenous flag, LGBT flag and the LGBT Ally flag.

However, this is now banned.

“The badge is too far,” the employee, who has asked to stay anonymous, told 7NEWS.com.au.

Stickers showing the indigenous flag and various LGBT flags have been banned. File images. Credit: Etsy

“On our badges, we have stickers that they encouraged us to wear. The stickers are the indigenous flag, LGBT flag and the LGBT Ally flag sticker.

“Now they want us to remove all stickers on our badges.”

In regards to the polo shirt change, the employee said that a change in suppliers meant that the new black Woolworths polos don’t fit correctly.

“They recently decided to change up the uniform to only wear our black polo shirts or just a plain black one,” he said.

“I don’t wear the black one because it doesn’t fit, because they decided to change manufacturers — so now the size I wear in a green polo shirt is the same size in a black polo, only feels three sizes smaller.”

Woolworths team member Liam Kirley wears the black Woolworths polo shirt and name badge. Credit: TikTok

7NEWS.com.au understands that Woolworths Group Preferred Dress Guidelines were first introduced in 2022.

Before they were brought in, Woolworths trialled its new polo top with staff across Australia and their feedback was taken onboard.

The Woolworths Preferred Dress Code is not compulsory to wear, and the team has the option to wear their own black polo shirts if they feel more comfortable.

It’s believed the Woolworths Group worked closely with its team uniform supplier to get the right sizing for the green and black polo shirts — there are two different fits available: “form fit” and “standard fit.”

7NEWS.com.au understands that Woolworths is asking for name badges to be kept clean of stickers so they can clearly show the team member’s name, as is the name badge’s purpose.

Leaked Woolworths memo to staff

This is a transcript of the full Woolworths memo which was sent to all staff. It is dated February 19, 2024, and includes the subject line “Woolworths Dress Standards”.

“Hi Team,

“In 2022, ,we excitedly launched our new preferred dress based on your feedback, and to support our team dress in a way that makes them feel most comfortable.

“We have recently observed instance of poor dress standards that may pose a potential food safety risk and/or injury in our stores. Following store visits and team feedback, we have reviewed and revised our Dress Standards guidelines to reflect guidance and expectations for our team.

“Below are the changes we made:

Tops – We have removed all reference to any other shirt other than the black polo. The change is: ‘Wear your Woolworths black polo shirt, or simply a plain black polo.’

Names badges – we have changed this to: ‘Our team and customers would like to know who you are. Display your name badge on top of the handy green dots on your garments. Keep your name badge clean and tidy. No stickers are to be added to your badge.’

Wear your own bottoms – we have changed this to: ‘Yes, even jeans! Black or dark coloured pants, skirts and knee length shorts are perfect. Leave your ripped pants, gym leggings or any bottoms with other visible brand logos at home.’

Outerwear – we have changed this to: ‘Layer up with a green Woolworths jacket, vest or black jumper to keep you warm. Hoodies and outerwear with other brand logos are not permitted.’

Website link – Store team members requested the website link underneath the QR code, for team members with phones that do not have the functionality to scan QR codes.

“I would like your support to ensure Store Managers and Group Managers are having conversations with team members regarding dress standard guidelines, and ensuring our team are looking professional at all times.

“New posters will be sent to stores in the next few weeks to display in the lunchroom. This will help our Store Managers in having conversations, as a way to help reset the dress standards in our stores.”

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