The Giant Company recently began offering its 35,000 workers the option of wearing pronoun-inclusive name tags at work. Advocates are praising the initiative as a morale boost for the LGBTQ+ community.
Ashley Flower, a Giant spokeswoman, said pronoun-inclusive name tags became an option for Giant workers in June 2021. She said all Giant workers are expected to wear name tags while working, though no one is required to specify their pronouns on their name tag.
Giant has 193 stores across Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The company serves millions of customers, according to its website.
“Our inclusion of pronouns in our name badges is a part of our broader strategy to promote inclusion and foster a culture of belonging across the Giant Company,” Flower said in an email last week.
Giant wants all of its workers to feel supported and welcomed, she added.
“[Pronoun-inclusive name tags are] part of our continued efforts in building an inclusive workplace where all team members [employees] can be their authentic self,” Flower continued. “Our team members have the option to include their preferred pronouns, as well as if they are a Veteran and/or bilingual to embrace our diverse and intersectional identities.”
Flower said the available pronouns for the name tags are “he/him,” “they/them” and “she/her.” She also explained the procedure for a Giant employee to receive a pronoun-inclusive name tag.
“When name badges are ordered, team members are offered the option to include their preferred pronoun, along with the option to note if they are a Veteran or speak additional languages,” Flower explained. “If they do not specify a preferred pronoun, no pronoun is listed.”
Flower said Giant doesn’t intend to mandate that its employees wear pronoun-inclusive name tags.
“While we are proud of the inclusive culture we foster by providing the opportunity to have a name badge with your preferred pronoun, we also believe in the freedom of each team member making that decision,” she continued.
PGN asked several Giant workers in the area whether they were aware of the new option regarding pronoun-inclusive name tags. All but one said they weren’t aware of the option.
One Giant worker who requested anonymity said she asked for a new name tag recently and was given one that specified her pronouns. She didn’t request that her pronouns be specified because she wasn’t aware of the option.
Her supervisor presumed her pronouns were she/her and those were the pronouns specified on her new name tag. Since those pronouns are accurate, she’s proudly wearing her new name tag, she said.
She’s glad to be a visible ally of the trans community by wearing a pronoun-specific name tag, she added.
Flower didn’t comment on the worker’s experience.
“We very much value the relationships we have with our team members, and as such, prefer to discuss their experience directly with them,” Flower said.
Flower was asked what Giant is doing to make its workforce aware of the new option. “The information is communicated to team members in a variety of ways,” Flower said. But when asked to give a specific example of how workers are made aware of the option, Flower wrote: “I’m sorry. That’s all I have for [PGN].”
Additionally, Flower said Giant encourages its employees to specify their pronouns in their email signature.
“Much like our approach with name badges, we encourage our team to include their pronouns in their email signature, but we don’t require doing so,” she wrote.
Celena Morrison, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, praised Giant’s initiative.
“Pronouns are part of everyday conversation,” Morrison said in an email. “I think it’s great that this business is offering employees the option of wearing pronoun-specified name tags. It’s a small gesture, but it can make a big difference in making employees feel comfortable and respected in the workplace. I hope more businesses follow suit.”
Naiymah Sanchez, senior organizer for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, echoed Morrison’s sentiments.
“This is a great practice by Giant food stores,” Sanchez said in an email. “I commend any employer who makes strides to create an affirmative environment for its workers and the community it serves. When it comes to the customers, we do not have name tags. So I’m hoping, as part of this initiative, Giant also implements professional training for how Giant employees communicate with their customers.”
Justin F. Robinette, a local civil-rights attorney, said Giant is setting an example for the legal world.
“It’s a wonderful morale boost for the community,” Robinette told PGN. “In the legal world, trans folks often are misgendered during court proceedings and in legal briefs. So anything that companies can do to clarify the pronouns of their employees is much appreciated. Giant is setting an example that I hope the legal world will follow.”
Ash Orr, press relations manager for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said Giant’s new initiative helps strengthen the community.
“Creating an initiative that encourages individuals to share their pronouns not only strengthens allyship but also contributes to the broader normalization of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations — helping to create a safer and more welcoming environment for transgender, intersex, and gender-nonconforming peers,” Orr said in an email. “Furthermore, using an individual’s accurate pronouns is a demonstration of respect and a means of fostering an inclusive atmosphere. It communicates that the person holds importance in your eyes and underscores your commitment to creating a welcoming environment for all.”