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Urban Outfitters Asks Employees to Work for Free


Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

Here’s some more fuel to throw on the Urban Outfitters fire.

The clothing retailer’s Philadelphia-based parent company, URBN, recently asked salaried employees at its corporate headquarters to “volunteer” at a Pennsylvania warehouse to pack packages for shipping, labeling the free labor a “team building activity.”

Under federal law, only hourly employees are eligible for overtime, and salaried employees who are exempt from overtime can make as little as $23,000 a year. (The Obama Administration has proposed raising that threshold to $50,000.)

This is far from the first time Urban Outfitters has been criticized for its labor practices. Last week, it agreed to end on-call scheduling—a practice that required employees to sit by the phone in case they’re needed while not being paid, making child care arrangements and class schedules next to impossible—but only in New York.

Here’s a rundown of some of Urban Outfitters’ other controversies.