Friday, August 29, 2008

LUSH naked party: Going green at work gone too far?

Employees at LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics stores went to work on Wednesday wearing nothing but their aprons to persuade customers to buy products free of packaging.

The company encouraged employees in 24 cities across the country to lead the “cheeky” protest, by showing up to work wearing only aprons reading “ASK ME WHY I’M NAKED.” The aprons (and lack of clothing underneath) are meant to prompt discussion with passers-by on the impact packaged goods have on the environment.

All planet-saving discussion aside, the company seems to have overlooked some serious workplace issues involved with their naked event ... starting with sexual harassment.

From New York Magazine:

“The publicity stunt, a spokesperson explained, was the company's idea, but employees chose whether to comply. While some clearly reveled in the attention, as the crowd grew larger, others seemed to be feeling regretful about their choice.

We asked store manager Jennifer Paulson, who kept herself firmly pressed against the store wall, why she had chosen to go naked. "Because we keep our products unpackaged so nothing goes to the landfill," she said like a good employee, then worried aloud: "Someone was videotaping so now I'm worried I'm going to be on YouTube!”

Among a list of other questions - What if an employee is not comfortable going to work naked? Or someone feels peer pressured to bare it all just because every other employee at the store is doing it? What if an employee feels like an outcast for wanting to wear a pair of pants to the naked party?

Has LUSH taken going green at work a little too far and managed to create a sexual harassment mess in the process?


Anonymous said...

What a silly stunt.

Typically, it takes more than one instance of inappropriate behavior to create a hostile work environment via sexual harassment. However, the company is not showing a good faith effort to prevent sexual harassment in promoting this stunt.

LUSH: As a consumer and an HR pro, I'm not impressed...

Michael VanDervort said...

There is currently an EEOC investigation on-going against the owner/CEO of American Apparel who allegedly spent a good part of his work days at the office in just his underwear. This was ostensibly because he was the "desiner/model" for his clothes, and he "looked good".

If employees can sue him, they probably can't come to work mostly naked either...

Overall, not good except for the free pub and the humor...

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