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HomeBusinessLululemon CEO who fired employees for confronting thieves stands by decision

Lululemon CEO who fired employees for confronting thieves stands by decision


Lululemon’s CEO stands by his decision to axe two employees who called the police while three masked men robbed a Georgia outpost, citing the company’s “zero-tolerance policy” for intervening with a robbery as reason for firing the workers.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy that we train our educators on around engaging during a theft,” Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald told CNBC during Friday’s “Squawk on the Street.”

“Educators” are what Lululemon calls its workers.

McDonald claimed that the two fired female workers — one of whom was an assistant manager — were not fired for calling the cops, but because they didn’t abide by company policy, which says employees shouldn’t engage with thieves.

The two women, Jennifer Ferguson and Rachel Rogers, said they were aware of the policy and were let go without being given “specific reasoning” for their firing. They also did not receive severance pay, they claimed.

Ferguson told 11Alive that they were openly questioned by a regional manager on their decision to call the police before they were fired from the store.


Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald insisted during a “Squawk on the Street” interview that the two Georgia workers involved in a now-viral video of three men shoplifting a Georgia store were fired because they interfered with the robbery, not because they called the police.
NBC

Ferguson said that once a robbery occurs, workers are instructed to “scan a QR code. And that’s that. We’ve been told not to put it in any notes, because that might scare other people. We’re not supposed to call the police, not really supposed to talk about it.”

However, McDonald said that the policy is in place “because we put the safety of our team, of our guest, front and center. It’s only merchandise,” he told CNBC.

“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,” he added.

The workers in the now-viral video were seen “knowingly” breaking the policy and engaging with the thieves, “including following them out of the store,” McDonald said before reiterating that Lululemon has a “zero-tolerance policy” when it comes to intervening in store robberies.

“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 said.

A Lululemon spokesperson reiterated that Ferguson and Rogers were fired for “physically engaging with the perpetrators which put their lives and the safety of our guests and other employees at risk.”

“Employees are able and instructed to call 911 when needed, and that was not the cause of termination in this case,” the spokesperson added.

The Lululemon representative also pointed to a company policy titled “Employee Response to External Theft,” which states that the Vancouver-based retailer “has a zero-tolerance policy on chasing or physically engaging with a guest when a theft or suspected theft has occurred. This also includes leaving the store to pursue a guest or gather additional information about the suspected or observed theft.”


In the view, three masked men in sweatshirts were filmed swiping armfuls of Lululemon’s high-priced athletic wear from tables and displays.
11 Alive

For break-in robberies, employees are instructed to “call 911 immediately after the suspects have left the store,” the spokesperson said.

In the shocking video, three masked men blatantly robbed a Lululemon store located at Peachtree Corners in metro Atlanta last month.

Wearing sweatshirts with the hoods pulled over their heads, they were recorded swiping Lululemon’s high-priced athletic wear from tables and displays.

The looters — who had allegedly struck the store nearly a dozen times prior — momentarily stood in the store doorway and staring at the women before jumping back inside to snatch several more pairs of leggings.


A spokesperson for the Vancouver-based retailer pointed to a store policy, titled "Employee Response to External Theft," which states that the Vancouver-based retailer "has a zero-tolerance policy on chasing or physically engaging with a guest when a theft or suspected theft has occurred."
A spokesperson for the Vancouver-based retailer pointed to a store policy, titled “Employee Response to External Theft,” which states that the Vancouver-based retailer “has a zero-tolerance policy on chasing or physically engaging with a guest when a theft or suspected theft has occurred.”
Getty Images

“Seriously? Get out,” Ferguson is heard frustratingly shouting at the robbers, who make a beeline out of the store.

“Chill, b–tch, shut your ass up,” one of the thieves can be heard responding.

The women follow the group outside and watch as they pile into their getaway car, but notably do not try to physically stop the thieves, though McDonald disagrees.

They reported the robbery to the Gwinnett Police Department, who later tracked down the thieves and charged them with felony robbery charges. The move, they claim, cost them their jobs.




This story originally appeared on
NYPost

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