Allegations surfaced against Southaven, a fashion boutique chain in Singapore, for its harsh treatment of employees by requiring them to do a weekly report of their weight gain and making them do squats for missing their sales target.
Several people who previously worked for Southaven have come forward and made allegations against the company in a Facebook group last week, according to Mothership.
Former employees alleged the women’s boutique only gave them a 20 minute break without phone privileges. They were also made to work a 12-hour shift with four days of rest within a month.
Lin, who worked for Southaven in 2019, said some staff were allegedly fined 1 Singaporean dollar ($0.73) whenever a customer went into a fitting room and didn’t buy anything, she said to Shin Min Daily News. Employees would also receive a fine if they forgot to cap a pen.
They would also be fined for small mistakes, such as failing to return clothes from the fitting room to the floor, forgetting to refill or switch off the electric kettle, touching the storeroom door instead of the door handle and forgetting to log out the cash register, AsiaOne reported.
One of the employees quit Southaven after working there for five months. She reportedly had to pay “a few hundred dollars” of fines during her first month of work at the boutique.
In addition to the fines, some employees were reportedly made to do squats. According to Lin, she and her colleagues were punished with 200 to 300 squats after they failed to hit their Lunar New Year sales goal.
A similar experience was also shared by another ex-employee Liu, who worked for the boutique from May to September 2019.
Southaven allegedly created a group chat called “Fatty Club” where employees had to report their weight gain on a weekly basis.
However, Southaven spokesperson Zheng Jin Ta denied the fine allegations to Shin Min Daily News and clarified the pen cap fine was developed by their employees as a reminder. He further explained the money from the fines were put into a common pool managed by the employees.
As for the squats, Jin Ta said the employees were the ones doing it out of their own free will whenever they didn’t hit the sales target.
He also explained the “Fatty Club” was organized by the employees as a way to encourage their overweight colleagues to exercise. Zheng clarified all these measures were not enforced on their employees, and there were no repercussions for not joining.
Southaven first opened its doors in 1997 and has five outlets all over Singapore.