Woman talking(l+r), Lululemon sign(c)

Dani Ber/Shutterstock @1desnicole/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘Nothing about them can be trusted’: Woman exposes Lululemon’s discrimination after she was fired and HR never responded to her complaints

‘Lululemon has been like this since the beginning.’


Tangie Mitchell


Popular athleisure brand Lululemon has made the news again—and not for its cute workout sets.

In a series of six videos garnering a combined 455,628 views as of Tuesday, content creator and college student Des Nicole (@1desnicole) alleges she and other co-workers faced repeated discrimination at a Lululemon in Atlanta before her termination. 

“I’m vouching for me. I’m vouching for … any person of color who has worked for Lululemon, been a customer of Lululemon; I’m vouching for you because all they care about is the image. Their diversity and inclusion is a scheme. … Nothing about them can be trusted at all,” Nicole begins.

She says that since she was hired in May 2023, she has documented her discrimination complaints on her iPad, including situations that happened to her directly, happened to co-workers, or happened to customers in front of her. Nicole says she reached out to HR about the complaints but never heard back.

@1desnicole #fyppppppppppppppppppppppp #lululemoneducator #blacktiktok #1min #trending #viral ♬ original sound – DES NICOLE ✰

In her first follow-up video, Nicole shares one such incident, which she says happened last summer after Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid was released. The movie stars Halle Bailey, a Black woman, as Ariel. 

“I had my red sew-in in. My manager thought it was OK to look at me and say, ‘Oh my god, it’s the new little mermaid.’ That’s OK? I guess in Lululemon’s eyes, that’s OK because HR never reached back out to me,” Nicole shares.

Another example she provides is that of a Black woman co-worker who came to work wearing a “brown matching set.” She states, “My manager looked at her and literally said, ‘Oh my god, my little brownie.’ Who says that to a Black woman?”

Nicole mentions the prevalence of Lululemon “boosters,” referring to those who steal large amounts of retail merchandise and resell it for less. 

“Everyone knows Lululemon has a big booster scam,” she begins in another follow-up video. “You gotta do what you gotta do. As long as [they] don’t bother me, I’m good.”

However, Nicole says when she and her co-workers asked in a staff meeting if they could call the police on boosters if “anything happens,” they were reportedly told no and to call their sales associate (called Educators at Lululemon) hotline instead.

“They told us to call the Educator hotline and let them talk us through whenever something’s going on. So you don’t care about our safety. You want us to call the Educator hotline instead of calling the local police department,” she says.

She also claims customers assumed to be boosters were racially profiled.

In her last follow-up video, Nicole, a college student, says she was scheduled for a shift on the day of a final exam. “I get looked at crazy when I vouch for myself for saying why I missed my shift. School comes before anything for me. I don’t care,” she vents.

“I knew I had to come say something because who else is going to say something?” she says as the video ends.

In the comments, viewers were taken aback by the experiences Nicole shared. 

“The new little mermaid is actually insane wtf,” one viewer expressed.

“HR works for and protects the company, that’s at every job. Never cared for DULU-lemon,” another viewer wrote.

“I used to work at lulu too… the way they preach about microaggressions and inclusivity and it couldn’t be any more opposite in those four walls…” came a third comment.

“Lululemon has been like this since the beginning,” a fourth viewer argued.

Why is Lululemon controversial?

Lululemon has come under fire before for alleged discrimination toward employees and in its hiring practices. Most recently, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson faced backlash earlier this year for his comments regarding diversity.

In a Forbes article, the entrepreneur, who founded Lululemon in 1998 and resigned as chairman in 2013, pushed against the company for using models with diverse body types, saying they looked “unhealthy,” “sickly,” and “not inspirational.”

“They’re trying to become like the Gap, everything to everybody. And I think the definition of a brand is that you’re not everything to everybody … You’ve got to be clear that you don’t want certain customers coming in,” Wilson told Forbes. 

The Daily Dot has reached out to Des Nicole and Lululemon via email for more information.

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