Abercrombie & Fitch Management- would you do it?

I have worked as a sales associate for this brand all throughout high school. It seemed like the perfect job to have, I was working for one of the most popular stores for kids my age, had great employee discounts, and got to listen to good music as I worked. However as I worked more and more I started to realize the politics of favoritism and ‘shadiness’ of the management there.

The requirements to become a manager for the company are a Bachelor’s degree and good looks. Most of the managers did not even plan to become one nor majored in the field. The company is known to have the fastest hiring process and it is pretty easy to obtain a Manager-In-Training position. Therefore you end up with very young, fresh out of college people as your manager. In a way it’s great because you can relate to them and actually become friends with your manager, but then you deal with problems such as drama, unprofessionalism, and bias among your managers and co-workers.

One thing that really surprises me about the management there is the terminating process. The company is all about favoritism and good looks, and if they don’t like you or does not think you’re good looking enough they will stop scheduling you. They can’t terminate someone without a legitimate reason therefore they start giving you no hours until you basically give up and stop coming in the store to check your schedule. That’s when they terminate you with “abandonment of job” as the reason.

While some kids are getting terminated without doing anything wrong, some kids that were terminated with a legitimate reason get re-hired with zero problems. I’ve seen many cases where someone was terminated for reasons such as “not showing up for shifts” and “not following look policy” from another store come to our store and have our managers override their termination and re-hire them just for their looks. Managers are put into competition with each other weekly based on how many good looking hires they get on a point system. Therefore most managers will hire a good looking kid no matter how bad of an employee they are.

These are just some of the problems I’ve realized while working for the company. It makes me question if I were to ever get into management, if I would put up with unfair rules and favoritism and unprofessionalism like these, or if I would stand up for what’s right and say something. What would you do?

9 thoughts on “Abercrombie & Fitch Management- would you do it?

  1. The Human Resources and Management tactics are very interesting at Abercrombie & fitch. It seems to me like they need to implement a more professional and legitimate hiring process and scheduling process. Their turn over rate, morale, and productivity might increase if they were to adopt a more new -age way of scheduling; where the employee could check his/her shift on-line instead of having to go into the store. Also, I think they need to adopt a hiring program based on skill set instead of “good looks” before they face an ethics law suit. It is unfortunate that the young kids that work there do not know that they have the power to create a law suit and stand up for themselves if they legitimately prove that they are not being schedule due to their good/bad looks.

    1. we can check our schedules online now but they do give more hours to good looking people or well “Abercrombie looking people” even if they don’t work or do anything.

  2. I fully agree with you on the ethics of the entire Abercrombie and Fitch company and its chains such as Gilly Hicks and Hollister. I have worked for Gilly Hicks in the past and have realized that they are discriminating not only employees but they also discriminate during the hiring process for prospective employees. I remember when girls would come in for the group interviews and after the girls would leave they would say things such as ” That girl is so ugly, theres no way she would work here” or “She’s too fat”. They have also showed racial discrimination as well and are now trying to become a more “diverse” company by not hiring blondes any more. It was a continuous fight to struggle with trying to maintain the “Abercrombie and Fitch ideal model” look. These companies are very unprofessional and need a better HR department. Or better yet, shut down the entire company because this has been going on for years and will only continue.

  3. I agree that these stores have ethical issues; the sad thing is that people know about these job requirements and still apply and interview for open positions. I’m curious if this is how the corporate office trains managers or if there is such a large disconnect between corporate and stores that they aren’t familiar with these practices. From your post, it also seems like the company skirts around lawsuits and cuts corners to get good looking employees. It may be difficult to carry out ethical practices once your in management, since the business seems to be operating similarly since you mentioned the stores are competing for good looking employees. I think that if I were in your position, I wouldn’t think about staying to be apart of management. Instead, I would probably find a different job that doesn’t put me in a position where unethical behaviors are expected of me.

  4. While learning that Abercrombie actually hires and fires based on a person’s physical appearance is appalling, I have to say it is not exactly shocking. I have a feeling this process is more implied and has become a mixture of the inexperience (and apparent immaturity as the blog suggests) these managers have and the environment, new managers most likely follow the example of those above them. If this were actually mandated by headquarters or is written in a manual somewhere they are just asking for discrimination lawsuits. This constant hiring and firing ups their turnover as well. Companies as a rule likes to keep low which suggests that either upper management does not look into the reasons people are being hired of fired or that they actually do condone it.

    On a side-note, if they are this judgmental over employee appearance they probably are the same way towards clientele as well which is no way to do business. I am surprised they have survived this long with the way they run things.

  5. When reading this post the first thing that came to my mind was the fact that I vaguely remember Abercrombie & Fitch being sued over discrimination sometime in the past. I did some research and according to this link (http://www.afjustice.com/) the company actually lost the case and ended up paying thousands to many in 2005. What is surprising is that seven years later the topic is still being discussed as if the issue was never resolved in 2005, the company basically let their money talk and didn’t make an attempt to better there standing through their hiring process etc. From a Marketing stand point I understand what the company is doing because every company has an image and a segment of clients it wants to market to. Obviously this is so that they know who is buying their merchandise the most and they can work on getting that market to buy more making them more profitable. Their image is young and good looking. So then what is wrong with hiring people who fit into that image? Maybe it is because they are going about the situation incorrectly or their image is incorrect or their marketing scheme mixes with their management style way to much? Either way they haven’t figured this out which is a shame especially seven years later. Lastly, I don’t see this affecting their operational management as much as their basic management scheme including HR and ethical issues etc.

  6. This post immediately grabbed my attention because I’ve worked for Abercrombie & Fitch for 3 years now and i agree 100% this is exactly how my store is ran too. The sad thing to watch is how these managers act in a “professional” setting, these managers are constantly acting unprofessional and inappropriate. On a weekly basis I hear managers talking behind other managers backs and managers picking on employees at the store. What is worse though is the fact that even higher up managers are exactly the same. At my store currently our district manager is constantly ripping apart kids over looks or slight blemishes. I can recall an issue lately that a employee grew his hair out and was told that he would lose hours if it wasn’t cut. I don’t know how i have lasted three years at this place with the constant unprofessionalism but as soon as i can get out I’m running because these three years have been some of the worse I’ve ever experienced in a job.

  7. People who have commented above have had first hand experience and i too have come across a couple reports and lawsuits against the unethical practices carried out by the company. It was reported in BBC, Abercrombie and Fitch had forced an employee with a prosthetic arm (Riam Dean) off the selling floor for not fitting the brands “all-american” image.
    Abercrombie and Fitch is known for such discrimination and favoritism practices and yet does the same to maintain the “teenagers clothes” brand image. If i were to be made manager than i would try to avoid favoritism since i would have complete control over the particular store and its employees.

  8. Society places value on image rather than ethics, individual character, and job performance. The comments above caused me to reflect on my shopping experience at an Abercrombie & Fitch store. My shopping experience was not the most pleasant but memorable, to explain, some sale associates were not the most friendliest or welcoming. Based on the testimonies of the above employees, maybe this has a something to do with unprofessional management. Managers help determine the work culture of a company; thus, the position of management should be taken serious and working affairs should be handled with professionalism. If I every handle a managerial position I would lead by example as I would be a reflection of that company.

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