Fashion company Lululemon has a zero-tolerance policy for employees who try to stop thieves.
CEO Calvin McDonald told CNBC on Friday that this is to protect employees and guests.
Two former Lululemon employees said they were fired after calling police to report a robbery.
Lululemon employees risk their jobs trying to stop a thief from stealing products during . The fashion company’s CEO, Calvin McDonald, said in a CNBC interview on Friday that Lululemon has a strict policy dictating how retail workers should respond to shoplifters.
“We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to interfering during a theft. And why? Because we put the safety of our team and our guests first. It’s all about goods,” McDonald said.
Staff are being trained to back down and allow the theft to take place, he said. The company uses cameras and other technology to crack down on theft and is working with law enforcement, he said.
“We take this policy seriously”
“We take this policy seriously because there have been cases – and we have seen cases at other retailers – of employees stepping in and being injured or even killed. Our policy is to protect them. But we have to stand behind this policy and enforce it,” McDonald said.
And he’s not kidding about enforcement. Recently, two former Lululemon employees in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, said they were fired by the retailer after calling the police to report a robbery. One of the employees allegedly filmed the incident.
According to a report by NBC News, the three robbers were later caught by police and arrested for shoplifting.
Employees can call the police
McDonald said that in that particular incident, the employees “knowingly violated policy” and “complicated themselves with the thieves,” including following them out of the store. They were fired for violating the guidelines, he said. He also said that Lululemon employees have the right to call the police.
“Staff are able and instructed to call 911 if necessary, and that was not the reason for the termination in this case,” Lululemon previously said in a statement to Business Insider.