Fashion Law

A&F Lawsuit: 62K People Say They Were Forced to Shop

Last Thursday, a California federal judge certified a class of approximately 62,000 Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (A&F) employees who brought an employment lawsuit.

This fashion law case claims A&F employees were forced to shop A&F clothing for workwear, and thus in some cases A&F stole wages.

Abercrombie storefront - A&F lawsuit

Named plaintiff, Alexander Brown, alleges that A&F implements a statewide practice of requiring employees to purchase its clothing to wear at work and has failed to reimburse the plaintiffs for the purchases.

See also: Post on recent A&F discrimination cases (with link to A&F “look policy”)
and Abercrombie snubbing Jersey Shore cast.

Abercrombie’s “Look Policy” requires workers on the floor to wear “clothes, accessories and footwear that are similar in style and fit to the brand, and that are consistent with the current fashion season and colors” but that aren’t “clearly that of a competitor.”

In March, A&F argued that the employees could not constitute a class because 12 percent had not bought any A&F clothing. A&F also explained that because its look policy does not expressly state that workers have to buy its clothes, the action should not move forward.

Last week’s ruling affirms that plaintiffs satisfied all requirements for class certification.

This A&F lawsuit includes a subclass of minimum wage employees, who allege that by virtue of being forced to buy a company uniform without reimbursement, their wages were driven below minimum wage.

Have you ever worked retail for the discount?

The claims may be found to hold weight. If violations are true, A&F may have violated state’s labor codes. California law prohibits employers from:

“compel[ling] or coerc[ing] any employee…to patronize his or her employer, or any other person, in the purchase of any thing of value.”

I thought these “compelled purchases” were the reason teens took jobs at places like A&F…

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