In another stunning display of counterproductive corporate decision-making, Lululemon, the Canadian athletic apparel retailer, fired two employees after they confronted robbers and notified the police at one of the company’s stores in metro Atlanta. Jennifer Ferguson, the former assistant manager, and Rachel Rogers, a store employee, were terminated following the incident, sparking debates about the company’s policies and the limits of employee actions during a crime.
Ferguson and Rogers were subjected to a harrowing encounter with masked robbers who had entered their store intending to loot merchandise. Notably, the store had already been the target of multiple robberies. Yet, despite the alarming and potentially dangerous situation, the brave women held their ground, telling the thieves to leave, capturing the incident on video, and then reporting the crime to the Gwinnett Police Department.
Lulumelon has a “zero-tolerance policy for chasing or physically engaging with suspected robbers.” So the paying customers are forced to subsidize the lavish lifestyles of thieves. Make sure that all Lululemon customers know this.https://t.co/lJBegRvghn pic.twitter.com/1RvC10zLaL
— Marina Medvin 🇺🇸 (@MarinaMedvin) May 29, 2023
Yet, following their daring act of confronting the thieves and calling the police, Lululemon terminated Ferguson and Rogers. The company justified this action by citing its ‘no-tolerance’ policy while refraining from providing the dismissed employees with specific reasons. However, the company maintains that “the safety and security of our employees and guests is always Lululemon’s top priority,” a statement that many are now questioning, given the recent terminations.
According to Ferguson, Lululemon’s store policy advises employees not to interfere during such incidents. “You kind of clear a path for whatever they’re going to do,” she stated, adding, “And then, after it’s over, you scan a QR code. 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.”
This is absurd and completely unacceptable.
Anyone who helps identify criminals and bring them to justice deserves our support & praise—not retribution.
— Burt Jones (@burtjonesforga) May 28, 2023
If the safety and security of its employees and guests are paramount to Lululemon, why would the company sack its staff for taking action against a crime in progress and calling the authorities? It is of particular concern, considering that the police successfully apprehended the thieves, largely thanks to the decisive actions of the now-dismissed employees.
The incident has sparked considerable backlash, with critics condemning Lululemon’s response. Marina Medvin, an attorney, pointed out the apparent paradox in Lululemon’s policy, stating, “So the paying customers are forced to subsidize the lavish lifestyles of thieves. Make sure that all Lululemon customers know this.”
Likewise, an outraged social media user lamented, “Only in America: Two employees fired for calling the police on thieves. What is happening to this country?” These sentiments underscore a burgeoning view among consumers that companies like Lululemon should prioritize the safety of their employees and customers over policies that may appear to enable criminal behavior.