Abercrombie & Fitch employees ordered to ‘do press-ups when they make mistakes’ according to leaked email
Abercrombie & Fitch has come under fire for its controversial 'look policy'
Abercrombie & Fitch is well known for its controversial 'look policy'.
And now it has emerged that staff employed by the U.S. clothing label were forced to carry out military-style exercises while at work.
According to a company email, employees from an Italian store were told to perform a short workout if they failed to greet customers correctly.
Male employees at the Milan flagship had to carry out ten push-ups, while women who failed to measure up were given 10 squats.
today, every time we make an error we’ll have to do 10 press-ups, or
squats for the women,' said an internal message, leaked to Corriere
della Sera newspaper.
A manager at the store reassured that the punishment would 'bring about a great result – we will learn from our mistakes.'
The regime was implemented at the U.S.-owned company’s shop on the prestigious Corso Giacomo Matteotti, which opened in 2009 and employs around 200 full-time staff.
Union leaders have now called for action. Graziella Carneri from CGIL, Italy’s largest union said: 'If this is the American model, then we have little to learn from them.
She added that the 'dignity of staff’' was being compromised by such regulations.
The company email dates to last April and it was not clear if the exercise regime is still operating.
COURTING CONTROVERSY: ABERCROMBIE & FITCH
Abercrombie & Fitch is as famous for its risqu advertising and controversial staff 'look policy' as it is for its preppy style.
The company's campaigns, shot by top photographer Bruce Weber, feature shop assistants in lieu of models, often posing semi-nude.
It even boasts an 'Impact Team' that ensures all employees comply with its 'look policy'.
Several lawsuits have been filed against A&F over alleged discriminatory employment practices.
The company was sued in 2004 for giving desirable positions to white applicants, to the exclusion of minorities.
And in June 2009, British student Riam Dean, who was born without a left forearm, won 8,013 in an employment tribunal, after managers at A&F's London store made her work in the stock room, out of sight of customers.
A spokesperson for Abercrombie & Fitch in London declined to comment.
One former employee, who remains anonymous, added: 'That’s how it works there – you take it or leave it.’
It is not the first time
the company has faced criticism for its strict polices, which stipulate
that staff should embrace a preppy look.
are told their hairstyles must be ‘'clean and natural' and women’s
fingernails must extend no more than a quarter of an inch beyond the tip
of the finger.
In 2009 the U.S. company was sued by Riam Dean, who worked at the Savile Row branch in London.
She said she was limited to
working in a stockroom at the outlet because her prosthetic arm did
not fit the firm's policy on how its employees should look.
Dean, then 22, who was working as a sales assistant in the company's
Savile Row branch, claimed she was removed from working on the shop
floor because of her disability.
She said she was left 'diminished and humiliated' and sued the company for discrimination, winning the wrongful dismissal case in Aug 2009.
She was awarded 7,800 compensation for injury to her feelings and
1,077 for loss of earnings.