Ex-Lululemon Staffers Say They Were Fired for Reporting Robbery to Police
Category: News & PoliticsVia: vic-eldred • 4 months ago • 10 comments
By: Aaron McDade (Business Insider)
Two former employees claim they were fired for breaking policy by calling police about a robbery at a Georgia Lululemon store. Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images Redeem now
- Two former employees say they were fired for allegedly breaking store policy at a Lululemon store in Georgia.
- The women told local outlets they were fired two weeks after reporting a robbery to police.
- Three people were caught on video by one of the women robbing the store, and have been arrested.
Two former employees say they were fired from a Georgia Lululemon store for allegedly breaking company policy when they called the police to report a robbery at their store.
Jennifer Ferguson and Rachel Rogers told local outlets they called authorities after a group of robbers came to their store in Peachtree Corners, despite company policy that says employees should not intervene in robberies.
"We didn't really feel very protected or know what else to do," Rogers told local TV station 11Alive.
"We are not supposed to get in the way," Ferguson told the outlet. "You kind of clear path for whatever they're going to do. And then, after it's over, you 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."
Both women said they were fired over a Zoom call with regional Lululemon officials who said the company had a "zero tolerance policy" regarding the incident, 11Alive reported. The former employees said they are working through how to deal with the sudden firing financially, and hope Lululemon considers changing the policy.
A Lululemon spokesperson told Insider in a statement that the safety and security of its staffers and shoppers is a "top priority" and the company has "policies and protocols in place to uphold a safe environment."
Company policy shared with Insider indicates the women were likely fired for recording and interacting with the robbers, rather than for calling the police.
Lululemon said in a later, expanded statement that the two employees weren't fired for calling the police. "They 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 statement said.
"Employees are able and instructed to call 911 when needed, and that was not the cause of termination in this case," the company's statement said. "We are grateful no one was hurt during this altercation. At Lululemon, our people's safety is our number one priority, which includes an absolute zero-tolerance policy for our employees engaging with guests in a way that could put themselves, or others, in harm's way."
In video shared with the local media outlets and on social media, Ferguson and Rogers can be heard yelling at the robbers to stop and leave the store. Local police confirmed to NBC News that the three robbers seen in the video were arrested and charged with felonies after bystanders reported a robbery in an Atlanta suburb the next day.
Rogers told WSB-TV she believes the string of robberies are part of a larger scheme involving returning stolen merchandise for cash.
A lawyer representing a group of retailers in Massachusetts told NBC News that many companies have non-interference policies when it comes to robberies for employee safety, and may discourage reporting incidents to the police for a variety of reasons.
"They don't want to waste their time on what may be an entry-level shoplifting issue when they could be doing something else because then they're not necessarily going to be as quick to respond next time when they do need someone there," Ryan Kearney told NBC News.
Update: May 30, 2023: This story has been updated with a new, expanded statement from Lululemon.