Two Atlanta-area women say they have been fired for reporting a robbery at the Lululemon store where they worked.
“All of a sudden we see some gentlemen run into the store in masks and hoodies. They swiped until they couldn’t hold any more product and ran out the door,” former assistant manager Jennifer Ferguson said, according to WXIA-TV.
“We didn’t really feel very protected or know what else to do,” former employee Rachel Rogers said.
“store’s policy is to stay out of the way of thieves, let them steal, and then scan a QR code to record the loss
They are instructed to NOT call police”@lululemon puts employee’s lives at risk by this policy that encourages store robberies
BRB – Cancelling my account now https://t.co/j7EWtj0Sln
— Phil Holloway ✈️ (@PhilHollowayEsq) May 29, 2023
However, both said they were fired.
“They said I was terminated immediately with no severance because they have a zero-tolerance policy,” Ferguson said, according to WXIA-TV.
“We are not supposed to get in the way. You kind of clear path for whatever they’re going to do,” Ferguson said.
“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,” she said.
The Gwinnett Police Department said there have been multiple robberies in the area and that the suspects who targeted the Lululemon have been arrested on felony robbery charges.
Rogers and Ferguson are hoping the policy can be changed.
Video posted to Facebook by Jason Ferguson, Jennifer Ferguson’s husband, showed the robbers being confronted and followed at a distance.
“I firmly believe that if good people stand by and say nothing, eventually we will be left with a life we do not want to be living in,” Jason Ferguson wrote.
“This was this group’s 5+ (maybe close to 10th) time robbing the store with NO ACTION TAKEN by Lululemon to curb the robberies and keep the employees safe,” he wrote, noting that his wife told the robbers to leave as another employee recorded the confrontation.
“This is real life. Not a game. And when the adrenaline of the scary situation hits, your brain goes into fight/flight/freeze mode. I am more than proud to announce that my wife went into ‘fight’ mode. She protected herself and the other employees and the store by yelling at them to get out. She defended her space and her people. They tried to video the getaway car to get the license plate. And then, they for the first time after any of these incidents, called the police to report it,” he continued.
Noting that calling the police helped start a chain of events leading to the arrest of the suspects, Jason Ferguson said, “So, this crew is in jail. Partly because of the courageous and brave actions of Jenn and the other employee.”
“This is where my blood begins to boil. These are two exemplary employees, both leaders and looking to advance within the company. And what was their reward? They were immediately terminated without mention of severance or any financial consideration.”
He wrote that the chain’s regional manager said “it would ‘look bad for Lululemon to be the company calling the police’. Are you kidding me? These ladies are heroes of sorts. They did what we all HOPE we could do in a similar situation. They were brave and courageous and honest and good citizens.”
Ferguson warned of the ripple effects of allowing theft to go unchallenged.
“Where citizens are afraid to go to certain areas because the police are not or will not be called. If we, citizens of the community, allow criminal activity to go unchecked, that is tacit approval for them to continue their ways. This is not what our country, state, or community are about,” he wrote.
He also blasted Lululemon, saying “It’s easy to say you are ‘for your people’ when ‘your people’ is plural and an enigmatic group of ‘them’. It is a lot harder (apparently) to be for your people when your people is an individual or small group who needs your substantial resources to do right by them.”
A representative of Lululemon said the company handbook spells out its zero-tolerance policy on chasing or physically taking on a thief, according to the New York Post.
“This also includes leaving the store to pursue a guest or gather additional information about the suspected or observed theft,” an excerpt said, with another excerpt telling employees to do what the women said they did: “Call 911 immediately after the suspects have left the store.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.