CEO under fire after Lululemon sacks two shop workers who called police during robbery

Calvin McDonald says Lululemon has ‘zero tolerance policy’ for engaging with thieves

Stuti Mishra
Tuesday 06 June 2023 09:40 BST
Calvin McDonald defended company’s decision of firing employees

The CEO of renowned athleisure brand Lululemon is under fire for sacking two employees who called the police during a robbery at one of their Georgia stores.

Calvin McDonald has defended the decision, citing their “zero-tolerance policy” regarding employee intervention in theft situations as the reason for firing the workers.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy that we train our educators on around engaging during a theft,” Mr McDonald told CNBC on Friday.

Lululemon refers to its workers as “educators”.

Mr McDonald said the two workers were not fired for calling the cops, but because they flouted company policy, which refrains employees from engaging during a robbery.

The Lululemon chief said the policy exists “because we put the safety of our team, of our guests, front and centre”.

“It’s only merchandise,” he said.

“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.”

The two workers who were fired, Jennifer Ferguson and Rachel Rogers, had previously said they were let go without being given “specific reasoning” for their firing. They also did not receive severance pay, they claimed.

Ms Rogers, who recorded the now-viral video of the robbery, told local media that she called the police because she “did not feel protected”.

“We didn’t really feel very protected or know what else to do,” Ms Rogers told 11Alive.

Ms Ferguson said that they were aware of the company’s policy about not engaging with the robbers and were questioned by a regional manager on their decision to call the police before getting fired.

“We are not supposed to get in the way. You kind of clear the path for whatever they’re going to do,” Ms Ferguson told the outlet. “And then, after it’s over, you scan a QR code. And that’s that.”

The video footage showed three masked individuals brazenly robbing a the store in Peachtree Corners, metro Atlanta.

The thieves, wearing hooded sweatshirts, swiftly grabbed high-priced athletic wear from tables and displays. The employees were seen engaging with the robbers and following them outside the store.

This incident marked the latest in a series of alleged robberies at the same store.

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