Two female employees in the US alleged that they were terminated by their employers after contacting the police to report a robbery at a Lululemon store in Atlanta, according to the New York Post. The incident involved masked robbers who were caught on camera stealing merchandise from displays located near the store's entrance.
In the midst of the incident, Jennifer Ferguson and Rachel Rogers, the two employees in question, exhibited courageous acts by confronting and chasing the masked robbers out of their store. They promptly alerted the Gwinnett Police Department, providing details of the robbery. As a result of their swift action, the authorities were able to locate and apprehend the thieves, who now face charges of felony robbery.
Despite their courageous actions, Lululemon responded to the employees' bravery by terminating them, citing a violation of company policy regarding non-interference during a robbery. The two women alleged that a regional manager questioned their decision to contact the police before ultimately firing them from their positions at the store. Additionally, they claimed that they were denied severance pay due to their alleged breach of the company policy, revealed the same report by the New York Post.
''It wasn't very clear. They didn't give specific reasoning besides just saying they have a no-tolerance policy,'' Ms. Rogers said.
''We are not supposed to get in the way. 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,'' the assistant manager, Ms Ferguson, at the time, told 11Alive.
A company confirmed that the its handbook indeed includes a zero-tolerance policy regarding chasing or physically confronting thieves.
''The two employees at our Peachtree Corners location in Georgia were not terminated 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. Employees are able and instructed to call 911 when needed, and that was not the cause of termination in this case. We are grateful no one was hurt during this altercation," read the official statement.
"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. We have longstanding protocols in place to uphold a safe environment in our stores, and our view is that no amount of merchandise in a store is worth our educators putting themselves at risk. Our focus is on continuing to support our employees and creating a safe shopping environment for our guests, as well as continuing to collaborate with local partners and law enforcement to ensure our stores remain safe,'' further read the statement by the company.
The incident has sparked fury among netizens, with many expressing their outrage on Twitter. Here are some of the reactions: