Lululemon Under Fire for Firing Employees Who Confronted Shoplifters
Rising retail theft has become a major concern in recent years, with major retailers taking stringent measures to prevent shoplifting, from locking up products to shuttering stores in harder-hit areas. However, Lululemon, one of the most popular brands in activewear, has taken a different stance on the issue. The company recently fired some of its employees after they confronted shoplifters at one of its stores. Despite the controversy, Lululemon's CEO, Calvin McDonald, is doubling down on the decision, defending the company's choice.
The incident took place in Peachtree Corners, Atlanta, where two women, Jennifer Ferguson and Rachel Rogers, who were assistant manager and key leader, respectively, were fired after they called authorities to report a robbery. The women claimed that the store had been dealing with thefts for months and that they felt unprotected. They said the intruders ran into the store wearing masks and hoodies, swiped products, and ran out the door. Although confronting shoplifters goes against Lululemon's policy, the employees chose to call the police because they did not know what else to do.
The three thieves who committed robbery at the Lululemon store now face felony robbery charges. However, both Ferguson and Rogers were given the same reason for their termination: their choice to intervene. According to 11Alive, the two feel that it was unfair to be fired and hope that Lululemon changes its policy to allow employees to call the police if they do not feel safe. Despite these concerns, Lululemon has no plans to change its policy, according to McDonald.
Lululemon's Zero-Tolerance Policy
In a June 2 interview on CNBC's Squawk on the Street, McDonald defended firing both Ferguson and Rogers. He stated that Lululemon's employees are trained to take themselves out of the situation and let the theft happen, thanks to technology and cameras that allow them to work with local law enforcement. The zero-tolerance policy exists to protect employees from getting injured or killed, as has happened with other retailers, McDonald explains.