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Lululemon employees describe toxic work culture: report

Lululemon’s former and current employees say the working environment was toxic.

  • Lululemon CEO Laurent Potdevin resigned suddenly earlier this month.
  • The company released a statement suggesting that Potdevin had engaged in poor conduct but did not confirm exactly what had happened.
  • New evidence provided by current and former employees suggests that Potdevin created a “toxic” working environment.

Lululemon’s former CEO, Laurent Potdevin, created a “toxic” working environment, former and current employees told Racked.

The ex-CEO reportedly created a cutthroat working environment by favoring certain employees, one of whom was a designer he had a relationship with. The designer was reportedly given preferential treatment by Potdevin, flying first-class with him and being given extra time off, employees said.

A spokesperson for the Lululemon declined to comment.

According to Racked, the company was aware of this relationship, as it was announced by Potdevin during a company meeting — called “clearing” — where employees are invited to share anything that could be holding them back at work. But employees said that the company did little to resolve potential conflicts caused by the relationship, which had been going on for nearly four years at the time of Potdevin’s departure. His girlfriend had reportedly already left the company.

“There was literally zero accountability because HR’s attitude was that Lululemon employees should take responsibility, share things in a clearing, and then move on,” a former executive told Racked.

Potdevin reportedly also behaved inappropriately with other employees by inviting them over to his house or up to his hotel rooms to drink. One employee described it as a “culture of oppression.”

Potdevin, who had been CEO of the brand since 2014, resigned abruptly in February. The company released a statement that suggested Potdevin had engaged in poor conduct, and sources close to the situation later confirmed to Business Insider that Potdevin’s romantic relationship was one reason behind his departure.

“Lululemon expects all employees to exemplify the highest levels of integrity and respect for one another, and Mr. Potdevin fell short of these standards of conduct,” the company said.

The company has not divulged any further detail since.

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