The popular, high-end athleisure brand, Lululemon, has had its ups and downs. Despite the Vancouver-based company’s success, it’s been at the center of some very public gaffes.
For instance, the company endured a recall of 20 percent of its yoga pants in 2013 after customers complained that they were basically see-through.
Not only did it cost the company millions, but it, later, cost Lululemon’s chairman his job, after he suggested the problem with the pants was actually that women with certain body types just shouldn’t be wearing them.
By 2018, the company was down another executive when its CEO Laurent Potdevin resigned over a range of undisclosed incidents related to his conduct.
But the latest issue for Lululemon casts the company is the harshest light yet. Workers in Bagladesh have reported a rash of abuses they’ve endured while producing the company’s leggings.
According to a recent report in the Guardian, young, female workers have provided detailed accounts of mistreatment at the hands of their factory managers. The factory, owned and operated by Lululemon supplier Youngone Corporation, is said to be permitting a work environment where managers use derogatory language and even physically strike workers for infractions like leaving their workstations early.
Some say they’ve been forced to work while sick, and are paid monthly wages that are less than the retail price of one pair of Lululemon leggings.
The allegations come on the heels of a partnership the apparel maker announced last week with the UN, intended to “reduce stress levels and promote the mental health of aid workers.” But it appears the company needs to get their own house in order first. Despite not owning the factory, the company does state on its website that its carefully selects its manufacturing partners to ensure they’re aligned with the company’s values.
Lululemon has announced that it is launching a full investigation.