The Smell of Bullshit, part 64: How to Help New Staff Learn the Ropes

An email came in this week from an ex-Lush employee. It makes quite upsetting reading. I’m glad the woman in question is doing better now, but as always, no matter who you work for, you don’t have to be treated like this. Join a union, get help and don’t put up with being bullied.

Abbie’s words

Hi there,
 
I stumbled upon your blog last night while I was looking
for more ethical and reasonably priced alternatives to
Lush, and I’ve never been happier to see a blog in my
life. I worked for Lush for a short period of time in
2012, I was struggling financially and took on a second
job while they hired extra staff for the London Olympics. 
I was eager and happy to be working for a company that I 
loved dearly. I did my interview, aced my trial shift and 
began working almost immediately for a high wage 
(London Living Wage) and I was content. Apart from when the
assistant manager took an immediate disliking to me. 
 
No one had explained to me that you had to be on the shop 
floor for the start of your shift - I was used to working 
in retail for another large chain that held a small staff 
meeting before the beginning of each shift, maybe it was 
naive to assume that most places did that. but they do, 
they cram you in to a tiny store room and tell you that 
you’re competing with local stores and to link and up sell 
products - if someone buys shampoo tell them it won’t work 
without a conditioner, etc etc. I hate this style of 
selling. And my assistant manager noticed this, and would 
drag me into that tiny cupboard two or three times a shift 
to shout at me, to tell me that I had no personality and 
that I was under performing. It was my first few days, I 
think this is a little unfair.
 
She did this to me for three weeks, constantly telling me 
that I wasn’t happy enough, that I wasn’t energetic enough,
 that I wasn’t good enough to even learn to cut soap, or 
stock the shelves, i should just stand by the door and 
offer people baskets. She didn’t care that I come from a 
multiracial family, and understand many hair types, skin 
types and cosmetic issues, and that every customer was 
happy when I helped them, I received excellent feedback 
from everyone I helped in that shop, but because I didn’t 
want to smile 24/7 - because the weight of being poor in 
London was constantly on top of me, and I was working 3 
jobs - I wasn’t ‘Lush’ enough.
 
In the end they fired me, horrifically. She got in my face 
and shouted at me until I started sobbing and then full 
blown crying, it was only at that point that she was 
satisfied. She then got another member of staff to watch me
collect my belongings and make sure I didn’t steal anything
- even though theft had nothing to do with my dismissal, 
and having worked in retail since I was 14, I’ve never 
stolen from a place of work. She made sure all of my 
colleagues knew that the reason I was fired was because 
I’m ‘not a happy person, and happy people are Lush people’.
They made me walk through the entire shop, crying and 
forced me from the building.
 
I experienced systematic emotional abuse over three to four
weeks, but no one has ever believed me that Lush would 
treat me that way - reading all the emails from ex and 
current staff members makes me feel strangely better, as I 
know I’m not the only one to have experienced the dark side
of Lush. Her abuse of me trigged a full blown mental 
breakdown, which I’ve been recovering from for two years. 
My current employer (someone I worked for at the same time 
as I worked for Lush) has stood by me, given me extra time 
off, moved my shifts, given me emotional support etc etc 
since it happened - and they’re a company i doubt will be 
around for much longer. 
 
I hope every ‘Lushie’ can have their eyes opened by this 
blog, and the truth behind the company.
 
My name is Abbie,
and I don’t mind you printing my first name. 
 
Thanks for letting me have a rant.
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15 thoughts on “The Smell of Bullshit, part 64: How to Help New Staff Learn the Ropes

  1. This isn’t going to be very articulate since I’m in shock right now. I’m so happy I found your blog. I currently work for lush, and I’m JUST seeing how brainwashed I became. It’s really starting to freak me out. They act like they are the best place to work — and they do offer a somewhat livable wage — however, hours are never stable and they constantly make promises they can’t keep. Every Lush employee I’ve met or talked to outside of my store (trainers, corporate, manufacturers, etc) are absolutely nuts and are the least personable people I’ve ever met. They are so jaded by the company, probably because they’ve had all this shit shoved down their throats for so long. It’s seems like a company run by a bunch of manipulative stoners. We’re constantly told about all the good Lush does, however there is never any proof or source. They kept telling us sulfates & parabens aren’t bad for us, but so many people get reactions from them. We’re told to regurgitate these lies to customers, to make people feel uncomfortable for being hesitant to use products with sulfates & parabens. The cult-like atmosphere scares the shit out of me! I feel like just working there I’m giving them a part of my soul. I’m sorry for the long-windedness. I’m just so happy you exist here!

  2. Hi there, just wanted to thank you for having this blog and to thank all the staff (ex or current) for speaking out about their experiences in Lush.

    I have recently tendered my resignation when 2 weeks later, I was informed that I need not attend work anymore. When I questioned why, my retail manager told me it was because of a comment I had replied to on Facebook. I thought long and hard about what comment I could have possibly said to have warranted myself getting “fired”. A colleague of mine had recently vented his frustrations openly on Facebook and I had commented, and I quote, “Oh I just realised I can now grow and paint my nails without them chipping off every Thursday! Woohoo!” I was in the Fresh department – making Fresh face masks and cleansers for all the shops and having long nails was obviously a no-no.

    Yes, I was fired because of my comment about being able to grow out my nails.

    After I was “fired”, I sent an email asking for an explanation HOW my comment warranted being “fired”. (I keep using ” ” because I had resigned and they weren’t technically firing me.) The reply I got was, I quote, “Responding to social media comment with a like minded response, reflects an agreeance of the original message.” I was speechless, still am, in fact. How did talking about my nails be considered having a like-minded response?

    My shop manager, who is extremely nice (lucky me), fought for my innocence during their monthly Managers Meeting and the bosses said something along the lines of, “It wasn’t personal! We were just very emotional.” …….what…….??? The professional thing would have been to call me and request for me to explain what I truly meant by my comment instead of instantly jumping to conclusions that I was speaking negatively of the company and firing me on the spot. Yes, they literally heard about what happened in the morning and fired me in the afternoon.

    Recently, one of the managers called for a meeting. In the meeting, he mentioned that he would only be paying me my salary OUT OF SYMPATHY. Because I had resigned first and they decided to let me go early, it is required by law to pay me a full month’s salary. What he said bothered me so much. This company is corrupt to the core. The staff have no benefits at all, even if you are sick to your stomach, you have to find it within yourself to crawl out of bed and to work, there are no paid sick leaves, the long hours in the shop floor are usually tolerable if you have co-workers who are fun and nice (I was lucky to have been placed in a shop with a great manager and very friendly co-workers). The shop I worked in was filthy. Customers would regularly point roaches out to us!

    They make it seem so magical to work in Lush. The managers and support team regularly tell you that it would be ok to come up to them if you encounter any problem, but if you do encounter problems and try to ask them about it, you are considered a troublemaker and they make it their own personal mission to try to get you to quit.

    I joined Lush because I used to love the brand. But once you really start working there, you see it for what it truly is. A lying, manipulative company that treats its staff like rubbish. I’m glad I left. My anxiety has gotten so much better, my lungs feel refreshed, I feel happier not having to lie and push products to a customer who obviously does not want them. It’s a horrible place to work in. 10/10 do not recommend working there.

    Thanks for letting me vent this out. I feel a need to tell everyone of how ridiculous a company like Lush is.

  3. I worked for Lush for over three years mostly as key holder/angel and was also bullied by the trainee manager. My manager didn’t have a clue as to what to do and in the end I had to file a formal grievance which was laughable and I was *this*’close to going down the constructive dismissal route in court. One day I may email my story. The company only cares about its profits, not its people.

      • Oh, I have a story about abuse and courts to tell too, hope to find the time to write you soon.

    • ^^Exactly this! As a former trainee manager I had to make an official grievance complaint against her (over 10 years ago) and they’d rather cover it up and promote someone to head office (who I now realise has classic NPD characteristics – she must have been in good company!) than listen to the collective complaints of horrifically bullied and ‘gaslighted’ shop floor and trainee manager staff.


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  4. Hi – just came across these posts, and wanted to put in an honest comment. As a current employee, I have to say that each Lush store is massively different with regards to staff and managerial standards, and I don’t know whether this is something that can easily be controlled.

    Abbie, sorry to hear of your horrific experience – to be honest, that’s abuse and I would take it higher. She might just be a really awful person.

    At our store, we do have the meeting pre-shift but we are told over and over again that we need not sell saying ‘you NEED the shampoo and conditioner’, but instead say ‘if you like this, try out the conditioner’ – that’s our way of linking/up-selling, we don’t do ‘prescriptive’ selling where customers are tied in by a range. We also certainly don’t ‘brand bash’, and management has made this super clear – so the ‘competition with other stores’ thing is also alien to me. When I started out, I made a whole load of mistakes, but was given the room to grow from them. Body language, energy, customer approach etc. needed work and it was met with support from supervisors etc.

    I wish this standard was across all of the stores, because otherwise it is truly such a shame.

  5. I worked for lush for over a year. I left because i could not get enough hours, my manager gave me as many as she could. I never had pre work meetings, body language coaching etc like what happened in the UK (I worked in Ireland). There were a few girls who worked there for yesrs and had a superiority complex but the manager and asst manager were really nice. I was not a lush zombie and gave my honest opinion of products, some i like and some i think are not so great. I guess i was lucky as the manager structure was great.

    I would work there again if those managers were still there as they created a happy work environment. Probably not what your looking to hear. I think because i now work in a company with approx 10,000 employes worldwide, i see how corrupt my current company are and how easy it was at lush.

    I dont like how Lush is run in regard to discontinuing products and dont listen to customers; and how they view shops outside the UK. Ireland is an afterthought for Lush. What i heard there is bullying commonplace in stores and the head office need to look into it.

  6. I work for Lush now on a temp basis. I work in a factory making bath bombs. The work is okay, can be enjoyable were it not for the management style and the the horrendous bad manners, rude attitude and bullying that goes down in the ballistics factory. The supervisory team in the factory are all Hungarian pretty much, bar one Turkish fella. They look down on any British employees and pick on them (no word of a lie!) and seem to get a buzz out of making people feel small, unappreciated, undervalued and down. They will speak in their native tongue to each other in front of employees and point and laugh, instead of speaking English ….. in England! The British shift manager lets this happen. I am by no means xenophobic, indeed I am the opposite, I have a German partner and hope to settle in Germany when the time is right. The blatant anti-British attitude in this factory is astounding and it is aloud to happen. Any bonuses that are hard earn’t are taken away at a whim, any whim of the shift manager, sometimes with justification but just as often not. People loose their target bonuses because one person does not do job right and everyone gets screwed over because of it. Hard working, largely struggling, skint but honest people. Lush, in my view, unless you are extremely thick skinned and hard bitten …. all the time, is a depressing and alienating place to work, at least in the ballistics factory in Poole. Unless of course you are part of the in clique, which involved either being able to speak Hungarian, Turkish, a management level operative or chosen as a “pet” …. a favourite. Favouritism. Unprofessional. Amateur and immature management style. Now, I still work there and I am likely to tender my notice in the next day or two. I may as well because we, apart from the chosen favourite few, will all sacked off just in time for Christmas. The joy! I’ve had enough. Shame. I like the work. I don’t like being spoken to like I’m a dog. I wouldn’t even speak to a dog like they speak to production operatives. An ethical company? Not in my experience. A real shame.

    • I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people talking to each other in their first language, but bullying is unacceptable. There should be clear policies and procedures relating to payment or withholding of bonuses, and everyone should be clear about what they are. It’s probably not worth it if you’re temporary staff and leaving soon, but these are all things that unions can help with and anyone experiencing any of these problems should be contacting their union for help.

  7. I feel that if you are being spoken about in front of you, they should speak in English so you know what is beings said. It’s plain courtesy. There is nothing stopping them from extending that courtesy. I can speak some German but I will not speak in German to other German employees when I am speaking about about someone (the third person so to speak) or anything concerning them. It’s rude and it’s snide. I want to be understood and honest and act in good faith. Speak English so we can all understand. Not doing so creates an air of tension and resentment. It’s poor. When I finally find something that I can settle into in far more permanent basis, I will consider the Union avenue. Absolutely I will.

  8. Hello,
    I worked at an english Lush branch in an expensive City from August to January.
    I moved to England from an EU country and as a vegan it was very important to me to not work for a company I would protest in my free time..
    I was over the moon when Lush hired me after a successful trial shift.
    I was told to be lucky because for one thing I was chosen after about a hundred other applicants were not taken on after their trial shift and because I will be hired as a permanent member of staff before the Christmas season starts and Lush will be looking for Christmas Temporaries.
    The following is the concersation I had via email with the helping hands team when problems started at the shop with the manageress.
    To make it clear again I was given a contract over a minimum of eight hours a week. I did not get a copy of said contract but I was also introduced to Chrismas temps during a team meeting as a member of staff and all of the other staff new that I was a permanent member.
    I was told my hours will increase a lot if I am good at my job and that all the other staff members excluding the key holders also only have an eight hour contract but none of them just does eight hours.
    I started off at eight hours but was very quickly on 18 hours because I did a very good job and the customers always liked me.
    Because I did not know if I would ever get a full time position and I really needed to move out of the place where I lived at the time, I had to find another job.
    I found a job as a bar maid and it was in a different town so I thought I needed to move towns and working both jobs will not pay out because travel fees are expensive and Lush only pays minimum wage , so if I keep gettin only 4 hours straight I would be paying half of my salary for the train fare to get to the job and home again.
    The manageress knew I was in a tricky situation , I asked her several times if she could give me more hours in a row so it would pay out for me going to work as I did not live in the city were the shop was. At a pub I was offered one Pound more salary an hour than I got at Lush and the pub was in a town that was overall more affordable. So I thought this is my only way out of the nightmare that was my life at that moment living in conditions not imaginable.. Because my next shift at Lush was going to be in 4 days time I was not going to wait that long to tell the manageress about it, so I wrote a text message on her phone.I wrote that with great regret I had to quit my job and would like to know when my contract allowed me to leave. I got a phone call back from her and she said that she has more than enough Christmas staff that could cover my shifts so I dont have to come work again at all.

    On the same day in the evening I had a trial shift at the pub and it riggered bad memories because I had a traumatic time years back when I also worked at a pub. I paniced, I could not do this job again, it was too much for me mentally.
    The next morning I wrote a text message to the manageress and I was asked to come in for a chat.
    I explained my whole situation to her and I got emotional talking about my past experiences and the difficult situation I was in at present with where I was living at the moment. I was told to come back the following week to work at the shop again.
    I was starting again on eight hours and from then my hours kept decreasing every week, which she couldnt do because I had a contract about eight hours that had never been cancelled.
    So I contacted the helping hands team:

    Dear …

    I started working at LUSH in …… at the beginning of August 2012 on an eight hour weekly basis.

    The manager and trainee manager recognized, that I would always find myself jobs when the shop floor was not busy, I would mop the floor at the end of the day cleaner than anybody else before me, I had a good knowledge of the products and did not require any training, I would never be late to work, I have never missed one day of work, I would usually almost be one hour early for work ( because I live very far away and the trains only come every hour and I didnt want to risk being two minutes late) and start working in the back right away without getting paid for it.

    At the end of September I had a break down; I am not entiteled to any financial help, which puts more and more pressure on me to find another job to be able to provide myself with necessities.
    Most positions I applied for only offer zero hour contracts or very low hours, I dont know how to pull through living in this country.
    I had put great hope into finding a job as a bar maid and when I finally had a trial shift at a pub I realized I could not work as a bar maid because it triggers bad memories from ten years ago when I had personal traumatic experiences and worked full time in a restaurant.
    I got very depressed because of this and did not know how I could move on as finding a job had proven very difficult for me and not being able to do waitressing made it look impossible for me to find a second job.

    After an interview at a pub that looked hopefull and I would have gotten more salary and a full time position I sent a text message to the managers mobile phone saying :” Dear …., with great regret I have to quit my job at LUSH. Please let me know when my contract allows me to leave.”
    The manager, xxxx, called me later that day and told me that if it is more convenient for me to not come again at all, it would be no problem at all, as she has taken on so much Christmas staff that they can cover my upcoming shifts. I stressed, that I didnt want to cause any problems and that I would keep working for as long as she needs me, but she responded its no problem at all. We agreed that I wouldnt come again.

    In the evening the same day I had my trial shift and realised I could not do bar work due to traumas it triggered from the past and had great regrets that I had given up on my job too quickly. The next morning I send off a text message to xxxx saying: “Hello xxxx I am truely sorry for my sudden decision yesterday I have huge problems finding another job to be able to live on my own and I had a trial shift at a pub but for personal reasons this job is not for me however I really loved to work at LUSH, it made me feel really good, if there is a chance you could forget what I did yesterday, please let me know, I feel so bad to have given up on such a great job with such a wonderful team I still cant believe I did that. If you are fed up with me now, I do understand.”

    She got in touch with me eventually and had me come to the shop for a chat a few days later. I explained things to her and she said that she understands my decision now and that she does like to have me working at the shop. However the last day I worked there she was very disappointed with me; it was my first busy day at LUSH as we launched “FUN” that day and the shop was absolutely packed with people. I didnt know if it was a good idea to squeeze through them and take even more space away or if I should concentrate on stocking up the shelves as some had products missing and everything looked a mess. It was not that I didnt approach customers, I just made it my main concern to keep the shop in shape and also spend a lot of time behind the tilt as people were buying like crazy. xxxx, the manager, did not tell me that she wanted me to approach more people, so I thought I was doing the right thing.
    She said during our chat that she was very disappointed with me on that day and that “I had breached my contract by not approaching enough customers” She said that she would like to keep me as a member of staff but because she was unhappy with me on my last working day, she will put me up as a Christmas temp, so I can use the Christmas season to prove to her and the trainee manager that I am worth keeping after Christmas. It was never said that she will decrease my hours drastically. The week before I quit my job I was given 19 hours.
    She told me I could come back to work the week later and I got the hours that had initially been put up for me, which were between 12 and 19. The week after that she put me on the rotor for eight hours and the following week I was put up for 5 and a half hours and the next week (which is the current week) I was put up for 5 hours ( due to me covering someone elses shift they increased to 9 hours).
    I have asked the trainee manager why my hours keep decreasing and he said because I left I have a different contract now.I said I have never signed a different contract and he said it had been done automatically. I asked him why all of the Christmas temps have more hours than me he lied to me saying they cover other peoples shifts, which is not true.
    I asked xxxx, the manager, why my hours keep decreasing and she said “thats the way it is, unfortunately.”

    I was never given a copy of my contract, xxxx (your colleague) phoned payroll to confirm that I still have a permanent contract over eight hours minimum, but the trainee manager and manager are both denying it. Another thing I have never been given are payslips. My job at LUSH is my first job in the UK so because I never got payslips or a copy of my contract I thought that maybe it works differently in this country and I didnt want to come across as mistrusting to ask for it. I asked my colleagues last week and found out that they get monthly payslip without asking for it, I wonder why I have never been given any.

    I think her behavior towards me is absolutely out of line, as:

    -I have apologized many times and got her the best vegan chocolates I could find (because I am a vegan)

    -explained to her why it came to me telling her I had to quit,

    -I have contributed a lot of my free time to the shop, which has shown that I go the extra mile and help where ever possible

    -other than many of the new Christmas temps I have educated myself on the products and ingredients and I find it unfair to now have way less hours than any of them (some have never even used LUSH before and therefore have no knowledge about the stock)

    -besides me quitting my job in a desperate attempt to make a living I have always been reliable and never missed one day of work.

    ALL of the core team members are fed up with xxxx, as she treats them disrespectfully which gets even worse once she knows how vulnerable you are. I find her to be a disgrace to the company. She is not just playing with peoples feelings she plays with peoples lives and the more she is being aware of it the more she does it. Everybody of the core team has formally complained about her and one long term team member has left recently because of her.

    Please, if you have any questions contact me on: 07xxxxxxxxx

    kind regards,
    xxxxx

    Their response:

    Hi xxxxx

    I have raised the issue of your hours with xxx (manageress) and xxxx (trainee manager) and asked them to talk with you on your next shift.

    Please let me know how this meeting goes.

    Thank you
    xxxxx

    Nobody approached me to talk to me about my complaint on the following two shifts and I was given even less hours the next week even though the manageress was told that she was required to give me at least 8 hours a week, so I contacted the helping hands team again:

    Hello xxxxx.

    I have had two shifts since your reply and neither xxxx (trainee manager) nor xxxxx ( manageress) have approached me. I have seen the new rota for the upcoming week and I have reached the lowest amount of hours so far, with only 4 in total for the whole week.

    Please call me on the number provided as I am very confused with where this is going.

    Thank you,
    xxxxx

    Because I got no reply for several days I called the woman and she got very annoyed with the behaviour I was facing from the manageress and her trainee mupped. She said that she told the manageress to talk to me on my next shift and that she had to give me the hours that are in my contract. And she could not believe that I have been given even less hours now after she talked to her.
    Two days later I got her reply:

    Hi xxxx

    I have spoken with xxxx (manageress) again today and she has assured me that xxxx (trainee mupped) will be talking to you on Wednesday when you are next in to talk through the issues you have raised.

    Thank you
    xxxx

    Because somebody from work called me to ask for a shift swap I was not working for four days. In the meantime I recieved my P45 forms..
    I contacted the helping hands team:

    Hello xxxx,

    Someone had asked me to swap my wednesday shift with them, so I am not in until sunday. That means I havent been spoken to about the issues so far. Today I received my P45 forms in the post saying that I am not working at Lush any more. Please call me back at: 07xxxxxxxxxxxx
    xxxx

    I was never called back, so I called her. After our talk she called the manageress to ask why I received the P 45 forms..
    The manageress said that she didnt know why I received them in the mail and that she did not have anything to do with it. She said she would call payroll to reverse this.
    The next day it was sunday when I had the swapped work shift and the manageress came to me to discuss about my complaint.
    She said I had to proof to her that I was reliable again because I quit my job and therefore cant give me any more hours. ( Just thinking how can I proof reliability when I dont get any hours where I can be reliable?!?) And that she changed my contract to a temp position.
    I said that I had never been asked to sign a different contract and that the helping hands team asked payroll about my current contract and they also confirmed I had a permanent position with a minimum of eight hours a week.. She lied again saying she changed it.
    Even though Helping Hands told me that she can not change it on her own..
    Then she went on saying quote ” I mean I know XXXX ( woman I am complaining to from the Helping Hands Team) very well. I mean VERY WELL! And she used to be a manager herself and fully supports me.”
    With that she wanted to make me uncomfortable complaing again and I wrote to the Helping Hands team following:

    Hello xxxxx,

    I am still facing problems at my working place, but do not want you to talk to the manager again. I would like to speak to somebody else about things as I do not feel like you are trying to understand the situation I am in.

    xxxxx ( manageress) has made it very clear to me that as an ex manager you fully understand and support her actions and behavior towards me.
    With this email I want to seek advice who I can address my issues to if I do not want to proceed with the helping hands team.
    Please do NOT speak to the managers again on my behalf.

    thank you, xxxxx

    Her reply:

    Hi xxxxx

    I am sorry that this is how you feel because I feel that I have given you advice and spoken with xxxx (manageress) on your behalf to ensure this matter was resolved. Please contact xxxx ( second member of the helping hands team) on 07xxxxxxxxxx

    Thank you
    xxxxxx

    Right after Christmas at the 28th of December, I was told I no longer work for Lush..
    My email to The Helping Hands team:

    Hi xxxxx,

    xxxx (manageress) has made it very clear that you both are befriended which, I feel, puts you in a biased position. I have asked you multiple times to call me on my phone but you never did.
    Today, after xxxx (manageress)made me feel like things were resolved over the past two weeks of the Christmas season, I was told that I had just finished my last working day. She is still denying that I have an 8 hour contract and the mess up at payroll with them sending me the P45 forms came very convenient to her, so that I have just been told that today was my last day as a member of staff.

    She keeps telling me the opposite from what you told me, which was that she can not just change my contratct herself. She says she can and that she did and therefore I have no more rights than a Christmas temp and now that the Christmas season is over she will not take me on.
    I was gobsmacked as I have worked really hard and she and the trainee manager were very pleased with my work. Also she did say that I have improved a lot. She said as another reason for not keeping me on was that somebody had told her I had talked to the bar staff at the pub where we the Christmas party, behind everybodies back which is totally made up, I get along with everybody and I am not the person to slag people off.
    I need one of you to call me on Monday morning, to talk to me about things. I can not call you as I have no more credit on my phone and I cant top it up as I havent received my wages yet. Also it is very hard to reach you on the phone, so please call me on my mobile.
    Please call me in the morning as I have a dental appointment in the afternoon and I wont be able to speak properly after that.
    My number is: xxxxxx

    regards, xxxxx

    No reply or call, so I called and discussed. I told her that I did not receive the full amount of my wages as the hours I worked after my contract was allegedly terminated by mistake at payroll were not paid out because I was no longer a member of staff after that and the manageress failed to sort this out with payroll and did not set up a new contract with me, probably because she wanted to leave me believing that she solved the problem and I still had my original contract and make the best use of me working my arse off to proof to her that I love my job and want to keep it.. She already knew she would not keep me as a member of staff but she enjoyed seeing me putting all effort into selling and making customers happy even staying overtime without getting paid for it only to give a lenghty hand massages to customers or washing out black pots in the back which nobody did for years and they were all muldy inside.
    Also I was told from the helping hands team that the manageress was told to send me a copy of my contract. She had to send it as “signed for” to proof that she did it. Funny enough I received a Christmas temp contract that I had never seen before and of course did not have my signature on it. Obviously the manageress did not want to give in and still claim she can change contracts herself and make them valid without a second signature.
    My email to helping hands:

    Hello xxxxx,

    I am disappointed that I havent heard from you this week.
    I still havent gotten my wages, which puts me in a very bad position as the money I earned at Lush is ALL I am living on.

    I also havent received a copy of my contract from pay roll yet.

    I have been trying to get hold of you for three days but even though I had tried to call all day, nobody would answer the phone.

    Please contact me on my phone on monday to let me know what is happening.

    thank you

    xxxxx

    no reply, so I emailed again a few days later:

    Hello,

    I did not receive the full amount of my wages. I worked 95 hours. Also I havent received a copie of my contract yet. I will complain to the head office if you cant help me with that. I know for sure that I was on a permanent contract. I was introduced to the Christmas temps as a member of staff by the manager xxxxx as well. I will not accept to be discarded of like that. Lush is said to be an ethical company and should not tolerate bullying managers. I am not the first staff member she has bullied and I will not be the last. xxxx ( trainee manager) is just a muppet of hers who will not voice his own opinion.

    xxxxx

    Helping Hands reply:

    Hi xxxxx

    Regarding your wages can you please email me the shifts you worked and the dates so I can ask payroll to look into this for you and resolve it. You should receive you contract tomorrow. If you do not please let me know so I can chase this up for you.
    I have spoken with xxxx (manageress) and xxxxx (trainee manager) further and they have told me when you resigned from your position you were then told that they would take you back on as a christmas temp.
    We take allegations of bullying very seriously and do investigate it from this department. I have spoken with xxxxx (manageress) about this incident and she said if sometimes her approach does come across in this way it is not intended too and as a result of your feedback we have arranged for some additional training for her.
    As we discussed at length there are currently no opportunities within the xxxxxx store as we are now in our low season.

    Regards
    xxxxx

    my response:

    Hello xxxxx,

    When I resigned from my position, I explained to xxxxx (manageress) the reasons behind this and she understood completely. She said as a result though she would from now on put me up as a Christmas Temp but ONLY for me to proof to her during the Christmas season that I AM reliable and I would not just resign again. This was more like an informal agreement between us and because I knew I would NOT lose my focus again I felt that my job was safe. I was NEVER asked to sign a new contract which also left me believing that nothing changes if I dont mess up again.

    Regarding the copy of my contract I was promised to receive this week:
    I did receive Christmas temp forms in the post on Friday, but there is NO signature of mine on it.
    What I asked for is a copy of the contract I signed when I started working at LUSH in August (the ONLY contract I EVER signed), so I can take further action. The Christmas temp contract is invalid because it does not have my signature on it.

    The Christmas temp forms do say though, that you would be given one week notice when the contract will be terminated. I was not given ANY notice.
    During the whole Christmas season xxxx (mamnageress) did not put up even one rota. She would inform people about their shifts on Sunday evenings via text message, which means if she had put you up for a Monday, you would only know the evening before.
    On Sunday evening after work I asked to see the rota to know if was supposed to work the next day. xxxxx (trainee manager) looked for it in the office but couldnt find it, so he asked me to wait for xxxxx ( manageress) to come back as she must have taken it with her. When she came back she told me that this has just been my last working day as she has decided not to take me on. xxxxx (trainee manager) did not even know about this.
    As stated in the contract forms, even as a Christmas Temp, I would have been entitled to one week notification.
    She even phoned me today before work telling me to bring in my passport, so we could make a new contract, because of the alleged “mess up”at pay roll that terminated my old contract.
    There was NO indication that I would loose my job until the very last second.

    My days of work since the last pay slip in November:

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    thank you
    xxxxx

    No response, so I emailed again:

    Hello xxxxx,

    Can you please give me an update on when I will get the rest of my wages and when I can expect to receive a copy of my contract.
    thx

    Helping Hands response:

    Hi xxxxx,

    I have now spoken with payroll and the store to sort out the issues with your hours, you will be paid the outstanding 12.5 hours and one weeks notice, this will be in your account by the end of tomorrow. With regards to your contact you now have a copy of the christmas temp contract that you were on as xxxxx (manageress)posted this to you last week.

    Regards
    xxxxx

    My reply:

    Dear xxxx,

    i am asking for a copy of the contract that I signed, the Christmas Temp contract I received is invalid it does not have my signature on it. Up until two weeks ago until the alleged mess up at payroll where my contract was terminated you confirmed to me that my contract was still valid all the time until I got send my P45. I want to have a copy of my contract, The ONLY Contract I was ever presented and signed.
    thx

    No reply

    My problem was clearly that I was working for over three months after I resigned for one day, being left to believe that if I am reliable and work well and show that I go the extra mile I will keep my job. But instead I was being devasted by getting BY FAR the lowest hours of all staff even staff that have no clue about the products and are not keen on trying them and only do the job to earn some pocket money over Christmas.
    And my hours just keep decreasing even though I did everything possible to sell products and making customers happy even working overtime without getting paid for it just to spoil customers and make the shop look good or clean in the back wich nobody had done for A LONG TIME.

    I was not ill just one day or came late.

    I was used over the Christmas season to do unpaid work and to work harder than anybody because I was let to believe that this way my job was safe.

    >But it never was and I am sure that from the start when she realised that I was vulnerable she decided to bully me.
    She did it before with a supervisor who was ill a few times and everytime she came to work again she was put on minimum hours again, she also did it with a long term member of staff. Basically with anybody.
    If you are ill and miss a few days she will make you regret it. Thats what I was told from members of staff and that is why she loves to put people on low hour contracts.
    She loves to be in charge over peoples lives and well being, she knows you cant survive on eight hours of minimum wage a week in the second expensive city in England.
    The helping hands team already knew her because the supervisor was victim of her bullying tactics and she asked the helping hands team for help and they came out to the shop to have a meeting with the manageress and the shop supervisor to resolve this.

    Also another member of long term staff resigned from her position just before Christmas because she couldnt face the bullying anymore.

    My story is complicated, I hope people can understand it. ..

    Lush is a disgrace, also the amount of soap and products being thrown away instead of giving it to staff who would have loved to have it and it would have been the ethical thing to do also for the environment is shameful. I asked one time if I could have the half used tester of shower gel that was about to be thrown in the bin and I was told if I want something I have to buy it.. I know we got everything at Lush half price but it is still a lot of money if you work for 6.33 Pounds an hour and have to live on it. Also I thought its a waste for the environment and did not like to see good products being wasted like that..

    I could complain for days on end, I was proud working there when I started but soon realised what a con Lush is.

    • I’m really sorry this happened to you, and I hope you’re in a better place now. For anyone else in a similar situation, please join the appropriate union and get advice and help.

    • to clarify we would be paid by payroll from the 15th to the 15th, but did not receive payment at the 15th of December, payroll messed this up, so this is how it came that at the end of December I had a total of 95 hours still to be paid. As I said I was soon after I started working at Lush given about 19 hours a week and in December after I resigned for one day my hours were decreased to 8 hours, 5 hours, 4 hours and after helping hands had several discussions with the manageress I was given my minimum of 8 hours again. the 95 hours were not from December, they were adding up from the 15th of November when I was still being given about of 19 hours and sometimes covered other peoples shifts as well.

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