Maine retailer L.L. Bean is back in the spotlight — not for products, but for politics.
In an internal memo from CEO Stephen Smith, obtained by Politico, the company offers support to any employee impacted by President Trump’s immigration executive order, which halted travel for people from seven predominantly Muslim nations, and is currently facing legal challenges in court.
“[L.L. Bean] is committed to help our affected employees in any way possible,” the memo from Smith reads. The CEO suggests any employee with issues related to the executive order reach out to him personally.
L.L. Bean employees tell necn the memo was released internally, and in some cases, read out loud on work room floors.
“Recent national policy changes, while dominating the headlines and sparking a wide-range of opinion, are also creating confusion and concern within our family of great employees,” Smith’s memo said.
The CEO also stated that the company has gone to “great pains” to distance itself from politics.
L.L. Bean board member Linda Bean was recently in the news for donating $60,000 to a pro-Trump PAC. An online campaign called “Grab Your Wallet” added L.L. Bean to the list of companies to boycott, which prompted President Trump to tweet support for Linda Bean and her business.
A spokesperson for L.L. Bean could not be reached for comment Tuesday regarding the immigration memo.
“I think it’s important for employers to try and understand the stresses that their employees may be going through,” said Susan Roche, director of the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project in Portland.
She said business owners can help employees affected by the new immigration policies by reaffirming their commitment to keep them safe, and supported. Roche said employers can help connect people to immigration lawyers and services, and cultivate a welcoming environment at the work place.
“There’s just an overwhelming fear in the community,” said Roche.
The immigration executive order has the support of Maine Governor Paul LePage, who tweeted Tuesday that Trump’s policies “protect all Americans.”