Urban Outfitters sparked some amount of head scratching when an internal e-mail surfaced in which the company asked salaried employees to work for free at a new fulfillment center.
The company — parent to its namesake chain, Free People and Anthropologie — sent out a call to full-time employees looking to “volunteer” in what the company characterized at one point in the e-mail as “a team-building activity.”
The fulfillment center, which opened in June, is located in Gap, Pa. The company said in a statement it reached out to employees for help with the new facility, particularly through the “busy month of October.”
“Unsurprisingly, we received a tremendous response, including many of our senior management,” the company said.
The statement went on to say that the call for help also garnered the interest of hourly employees, who were declined the opportunity to volunteer their time because of labor laws.
A media representative declined to say whether the company’s done such calls to action in the past or whether the hiring of temporary workers or paying overtime to hourly employees had been considered. It also wasn’t clear how long the “volunteer” period would last.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Wednesday that Urban Outfitters will eliminate the practice of on-call scheduling for store employees in the state beginning in November. The company, like many retailers and restaurant operators, had been assigning shifts to workers with little lead time and come next month will begin offering at least a one-week lead time to employees, Schneiderman said.