Lululemon has confronted backlash for firing two retail workers for confronting shoplifters, however a earlier homicide in one in every of their shops may need been the explanation for the corporate’s stance.
The sporting-apparel model dismissed employees Jennifer Ferguson and Rachel Rogers from a retailer in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, after they confronted a bunch of males in masks and hoods who had stormed the store to seize bundles of garments.
The incident occurred in late May and the 2 girls spoke to native information outlet 11 Alive after the video they took went viral on social media.
They claimed the Vancouver-based firm fired them with out severance pay for filming and interacting with the shoplifters.
“We are not supposed to get in the way; you kind of clear path for whatever they’re going to do,” stated Ferguson, who was the assistant supervisor on the time of the incident.
The pair later known as the police after telling the three males to cease stealing. The alleged shoplifters have been reportedly apprehended and charged with felony housebreaking expenses by the Gwinnett Police Department.
Lululemon denied the ladies have been fired for calling the police, however “were terminated for knowingly violating our zero-tolerance policy related to physically engaging with the perpetrators which put their lives and the safety of our guests and other employees at risk.”
The firm’s CEO, Calvin McDonald, stood by the choice, saying the clothes that was stolen was “only merchandise.”
“We have a zero-tolerance policy that we train our educators on around engaging during a theft,” he advised CNBC on Friday’s version of Squawk on the Street.
“Educators” is the title Lululemon has given to its retail employees.
“They’re trained to step back, let the theft occur, know that there’s technology and there’s cameras and we’re working with law enforcement,” McDonald stated.
He added the ladies “knowingly” broke the corporate’s “Employee Response to External Theft” coverage.
“We take that policy seriously because we have had instances—and we have seen with other retailers—instances where employees step in and are hurt, or worse, killed. And the policy is to protect them. But we have to stand behind the policy to enforce it,” McDonald stated.
He might have been referring to the 2011 homicide of Lululemon “educator” Jayna Troxel Murray, who was killed by her co-worker Brittany Norwood after discovering a pair of stolen pants in Norwood’s bag.
Murray was discovered with 331 wounds on her physique from quite a lot of weapons together with a hammer and knife, within the retailer in Bethesda, Maryland.
The co-worker staged a pretend theft after killing Murray, together with sporting a pair of males’s footwear to trace blood by the shop, self-inflicting a collection of wounds and zip-tying her personal palms and ankles.
Norwood was sentenced to life in jail with out parole in 2012. Newsweek contacted Lululemon for remark.
People on Twitter slammed Lululemon for firing the workers members and accused the corporate of being too “woke.”
“I suppose Lululemon has a ‘woke’ store policy of offering the smash and grabbers a free gift-wrap?” one individual tweeted with the hashtag #BoycottLululemon. “Another ‘Woke go Broke’ company sealing its own fate,” one other wrote.
The Lululemon incident comes as lawmakers in California try to move a invoice that may ban retail workers from stopping thieves stealing from their shops.
Introduced by Democratic Senator Dave Cortese, Senate Bill 553 will now face a vote within the state meeting and, if handed, would intention to stop office violence and shield workers from being pressured by their employers to step in throughout robberies.
The legislation would make it necessary for employers to offer active-shooter coaching to workers, hold a log of any violent incidents, and permit corporations to use for office violence restraining orders.
The California Retailers Association criticized the transfer and described it as an invite for thieves “to come in and steal,” however comes after a spate of coordinated robberies in San Francisco’s Bay Area and the homicide of a Home Depot safety guard.
Blake Mohs, 26, was shot to demise throughout an tried theft in Pleasanton, California, in April of this yr.
WholeFoods and Nordstrom each briefly closed some shops in San Francisco, citing workers security after a wave of thefts.
Lululemon was one in every of a number of targets throughout a collection of coordinated robberies in 2021.
While “retail shrink”—the technique companies take to stop theft—turns into “an almost $100-billion problem,” in accordance with a survey by commerce affiliation National Retail Federal, Cortese argued his invoice was essential as a result of assaults in opposition to retail employees rose through the pandemic, together with his workplace citing evaluation by The New York Times.
“More recently, we’ve seen another spike in retail violence; [at] Safeways, Home Depots, it just seems to be happening every other day,” he advised Fox 2/KTVU.
“What we’re saying in the bill is it’s not OK for employers to take a rank-and-file worker, somebody whose job is really something else…and say, ‘Hey, you know, if there’s an intruder, we’re going to deputize you to intervene.’ People get hurt and often killed that way.”