One BIPOC Lululemon employee says a white manager asked him after a diversity training why she couldn’t say ‘colored’ in the workplace

Lululemon; Samantha Lee/Insider

A BIPOC employee told Insider a manager did not understand why she shouldn’t use the term "colored."
Current and former Lululemon employees describe a culture of "privileged white wellness."
Subscribe to read the full Insider investigation into Lululemon’s corporate culture.

See more stories on Insider’s business page.
In 2018, after a diversity and inclusion training at Lululemon’s headquarters in Vancouver, Canada, a white manager approached a BIPOC employee with a concern. She told him she didn’t understand why they couldn’t use the term "colored" in the workplace.
"You could tell she just wasn’t getting it," he said to Insider. "It was putting the labor on me as a BIPOC person."
Throughout his time the employee, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation by the company but whose real name is known by Insider, said he was frequently the only person of color in meetings or on teams.
The employee began his career at Lululemon as a sales associate at a retail store in Canada, where he said he experienced the racial profiling of customers before ultimately climbing the corporate ladder.
"Basically being like, ‘Oh that person’s Asian they might steal hoodies or something,’" he said of former store coworkers.
After years working both the retail sales floor and climbing the corporate ladder at Lululemon’s HQ, he quit. "I saw what needed to be seen," he told Insider.
From the outside, Lululemon exudes an aspirational lifestyle, with its high-tech activewear and brightly curated 500-plus retail stores designed to reflect the company’s core values of "personal responsibility, entrepreneurship, honesty, courage, connection, fun, and inclusion," according to its website.
The company has become one of the largest apparel brands in North America and a top competitor to athletic giants like Nike and Adidas. Lululemon reported it increased revenue in 2020 by 11% to $4.4 billion.
But according to 12 current and former Lululemon corporate employees who spoke with Insider, the company’s image stands in stark contrast to their experiences behind the scenes at the company’s corporate offices. A separate former employee told Insider that Lululemon exemplified "privileged white wellness" in a way that reflects that wellness industry at large.
Some corporate employees said they felt that the rapid growth of the company had hindered its ability to implement changes, particularly in areas like diversity and inclusion that have long plagued Lululemon.
SUBSCRIBE NOW TO READ THE FULL STORY: Lululemon corporate employees say they experienced ‘traumatic’ racial insensitivity, including a push from one high-level manager for an ‘all lives matter’ homepage designRead the original article on Business Insider


Join the Discussion

  • BrokerEUR/USD
    ETX Capital 0.6pips (variable) margin: 3.33%
    FX Pro 0.91pips. (variable) margin: 3.33%
  • Back to top