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Two former Lululemon employees in Georgia say they were fired for allegedly breaking company policy when they called the police to report a robbery at their store earlier this month.
Jennifer Ferguson, a former assistant manager at a Lululemon store in Peachtree Corners, and one of her employees, Rachel Rogers, told local outlets they reached out to local authorities after a group of robbers came to the store.
The thieves have reportedly looted the location multiple times in previous months. The latest robbery was recorded by Rogers, 23.
Video of the incident shows masked thieves burst into the Peachtree Corners store in metro Atlanta earlier this month, grabbing as many items as possible before being confronted by Ferguson.
“No, no, no, you can march back out,” Ferguson can be heard telling the thieves.
At one point in the video, the thieves seemed to pause and consider the employee’s demand before re-entering the store and grabbing more items.
“Seriously? Get out,” Ferguson can be heard saying to the robbers.
The employees then record the thieves as they exit the store and enter a waiting car to escape. The duo made no effort to physically prevent the thieves from stealing items or leaving the store.
Following this, the women reported the robbery to the Gwinnett Police Department, who later tracked down the thieves and charged them with felony robbery.
“We didn’t really feel very protected or know what else to do,” Rogers, 23, told local TV station 11Alive.
“We are not supposed to get in the way,” Ferguson told the outlet. “You kind of clear path for whatever they’re going to do,” Ferguson said of the store’s policy. “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.”
Both women were questioned by a regional manager over their decision to call the police and were later fired for their actions due to the company’s “zero tolerance policy” regarding the incident, 11Alive reported.
It comes as stores nationwide experience a sharp rise in crime and some major retailers have been forced to shut down shops due to rampant theft causing millions of dollars in losses to the businesses.
A spokesperson for Lululemon confirmed with 11Alive that the company’s handbook indeed includes a zero-tolerance policy regarding chasing or physically confronting thieves in the following statement.
”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. 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.”