S'pore boutique staff allegedly made to report weight gain, do squats for not hitting sales targets

A spokesperson from the boutique denied enforcing such punishments.

Tanya Ong | August 25, 2020, 02:00 PM

A boutique in Singapore has been hit by allegations circulating online regarding its treatment of employees.

Allegations posted in Facebook group

These allegations, purportedly made by former employees of Southaven in Singapore -- a fashion boutique catering to women -- claimed that staff were "bullied" by more senior ones, and fined if they made "mistakes", such as by not putting sufficient perfume or lipstick.

According to several posts in a Facebook group, employees were apparently only given a meal break of 20 minutes, and they were not allowed to use their phone during that time.

The post also claimed that employees would work 12 hours a day, with four days' rest in a month.

Southaven has five outlets in Singapore, according to their website.

These are some screenshots of the Facebook post:

An ex-employee, Lin, who worked at Southaven in 2019 told Shin Min Daily News that staff were fined over various things.

A S$1 fine is imposed if a customer leaves the fitting room without making a purchase or if they forget to cap a pen.

When they failed to hit the sales target for Lunar New Year, she and her colleagues were allegedly made to do 200 to 300 squats as punishment, Lin said.

Another ex-employee known only as Liu, also said that she had this experience of having to do squats when she worked at the boutique between May to September 2019, Shin Min reported.

Apart from being penalised, Lin also added that every week, they had to report their weight in a group chat called "Fatty Club".

Southaven spokesperson denies enforcing the fines

Speaking to Shin Min, a spokesperson from Southaven, 58-year-old Zheng Jin Ta, denied enforcing fines on their employees.

Regarding fines for "mistakes" such as the pens not being capped, he said that employees have developed their own system of reminders.

He also explained that the "fines" would go into a common pool that the employees managed on their own.

The company also did not enforce squats as a form of punishment, Zheng said. The employees were doing so of their own accord for not hitting the targets.

Regarding the "Fatty Club" group, Zheng clarified that the group was formed among employees to encourage overweight colleagues to exercise.

"The following was not enforced, and not participating would not affect their work."

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Top photos via China Press