Here’s a sad story from our friends in the UK. We weren’t aware that Abercrombie & Fitch still existed — but apparently it does and it’s run into a little legal trouble. A woman with a prosthetic arm says she was forced to work in the stockroom because her limb violated Abercrombie’s “Look Policy.” Classy!
The Daily Mail says:
She said: ‘I was never asked whether I had a disability at my interview and, to be honest, it never occurred to me to mention it.
‘It wouldn’t stop me doing my job and I certainly didn’t want or expect any special treatment.
‘All they seemed interested in was taking my photograph to make sure I had the right image.’
After being told she had got the job she went along to an induction day where she was issued a 45-page handbook listing in minute detail the company’s strict Look Policy.
It stipulates that staff must represent a ‘natural, classic American style’ and instructs them on everything from how to wear their hair (clean and natural) to how long they should wear their nails (a quarter of an inch past the end of the finger).
Everything was going along swimmingly until a member of Abercrombie’s “visual team” took issue with the white cardigan the woman was wearing over her uniform. (She prefers to wear long sleeves and had been given permission to wear the cardigan.)
‘A worker from what they call the “visual team”, people who are employed to go round making sure the shop and its staff look up to scratch, came up to me and demanded I take the cardigan off.
‘I told her, yet again, that I had been given special permission to wear it,’ she recalled.
‘A few minutes later my manager came over to me and said: “I can’t have you on the shop floor as you are breaking the Look Policy. Go to the stockroom immediately and I’ll get someone to replace you.”
‘I pride myself on being quite a confident girl but I had never experienced prejudice like that before and it made me feel utterly worthless.
‘Afterwards I telephoned the company’s head office where a member of staff asked whether I was willing to work in the stockroom until the winter uniform arrived.
‘That was the final straw. I just couldn’t go back.’
This isn’t the first time the company has run into trouble because of the Abercrombie “look.” They settled a $40 million lawsuit brought by workers who say they were given night shifts or stockroom positions because of the look policy.