Two employees at a Lululemon shop in Peachtree Corners, GA, were recently fired after they called the cops when they felt threatened after looters barged into the store and cleared out sections of it. Lululemon’s CEO, speaking during a recent CNBC interview, claimed that they were fired not for calling the cops, but for physically engaging with the alleged robbers.
That came during a recent episode of CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” during which Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald said that the two “educators,” which is what Lululemon calls employees, broke the company’s “zero-tolerance” policy on “engaging” with criminals during a theft. “We have a zero-tolerance policy that we train our educators on around engaging during a theft,” he began.
Continuing, McDonald argued that the employees are told, when a robbery occurs, that all they should do is “scan a QR code.” Continuing, he said that they’re not supposed to do anything else for a variety of policy reasons, saying, “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.”
He then claimed, while speaking to CNBC, that the policy is in place “because we put the safety of our team, of our guest, front and center. It’s only merchandise.” Speaking more about what the “educators” are trained to do in the event of a robbery, 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.”
He then stood by his company’s no engaging with robbers policy, saying that it is in place to protect employees, saying, “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.” He then stood by the decision to fire the employees for violating it, saying, “But we have to stand behind the policy to enforce it.”
Watch him here:
"The [employees] knowingly broke the policy, engaged with the thieves…that was what resulted in the termination."
— Squawk on the Street (@SquawkStreet) June 2, 2023
Further, a Lululemon spokesperson disputed the allegation that the employees were fired for calling the police, saying that they can do so if they need to, and that the two employees were not fired for calling the police, as was initially claimed. “Employees are able and instructed to call 911 when needed, and that was not the cause of termination in this case,” the spokesperson said.
Continuing, that spokesperson pointed to the company policy regarding what employees cannot do in the case of theft, called “Employee Response to External Theft.” That policy, the one to which the CEO was probably referring in the interview, states that Lululemon “has a zero-tolerance policy on chasing or physically engaging with a guest when a theft or suspected theft has occurred.” Continuing, the policy adds that what the employees did here, following the suspected robbers out of the store, is not permitted, saying, “This also includes leaving the store to pursue a guest or gather additional information about the suspected or observed theft.”
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
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