Retail Store In SG Allegedly Punishes Staff With 200 Squats For Not Hitting Sales Targets

A 20-year-old Malaysian who had worked in the company said the experience had almost driven her crazy.

Cover image via Wheelock Place & China Press

A fashion retail chain in Singapore is accused of enforcing "strange rules" on its employees every time they gain weight or fail to meet sales targets, among other things

Several employees working for clothing brand Southaven have publically denounced the company for its bizarre punishments imposed on them.

According to a report by Shin Min Daily News published yesterday, 24 August, one of the company's strangest punishments was to order its employees to perform 200 to 300 'frog squats' after failing to meet sales targets during Chinese New Year.

A 20-year-old employee, who underwent the punishment last year, said they had to record a video of themselves performing the squats and send it to a company's group chat.

"I resigned after working for five months," she said, citing intolerance over the absurdity. 

Established in 1997, Southaven has five outlets in the island nation, reported AsiaOne. The fashion chain, on its website, positions itself as "Singapore's trendy boutique for ladies".

At the time of writing, the brand has suspended its Facebook business page.

Employees performing 'frog squats' after failing to meet sales targets.

Image via China Press

The former employee revealed that the company fines its employees every time they gain weight, regardless of how little increase it is

The company is said to have a high beauty standard for its employees.

"Some employees were fined and asked to give the money to people who have lost weight,"
she said.

"While some were sent to work in a warehouse, restricting their opportunity to serve customers at retail stores."

According to a group of former employees, Southaven requires its staff to measure their weight every week and report it to a group chat named the 'Fat Club'.

If they are found to have gained weight, employees are allegedly barred from taking dinner. Only drinking water is allowed.

Employees allegedly need to update their weight to a company's group chat every week.

Image via Shin Min Daily News via Zaobao

Meanwhile, a 20-year-old Malaysian also shared her experience working at Southaven, saying that she had her heart in her mouth throughout her stint there

It was her first job in Singapore. After signing the employment contract, she said she worked for six months before the company cleared the fines she accumulated over miscellaneous offences, reported China Press

Hence, she had to learn to suppress her indignation during the period.

"Other than being on a 12-hour work shift, I was also trembling and constantly worried about being fined," said the Malaysian.

"I must meet the sales target every week, otherwise all the store staff will have to do 200 frog squats."

As the most underperforming staff there, she said she also had to use her hard-earned money to treat the top-performing colleagues to a meal, which are often lavish meals such as chili crab.

I often break down, cry, and feel like I'm going crazy.

The 20-year-old lamented that she also worried about her weight, which led her to only eating nutritious meals and fruits while working there.

Photos of a record book detailing employees' blunders and the punishments they will receive.

Image via Shin Min Daily News via Zaobao

Due to the absurd amount of rules, an employee said she was fined a few hundred Singapore dollars during her first month at work

According to her, these are the fine rates for each offence at Southaven:

- Failing to cover the cap of a pen: SGD1 (about RM3)

- Failing to take out the clothes in the fitting room on time: SGD1 (about RM3)

- The water boiling machine is not filled up or the power is not turned off: SGD1 (about RM3)

- Touching any part of the storeroom door except the handle: SGD1 (about RM3)

- Not logging out from the cash register: SGD5 (about RM15)

Image via Southaven

In response to the allegations, Southaven claimed the fines and punishments were all employee-led initiatives

"None of the above is mandatory, and non-participation will not affect employees' performance," said a 58-year-old spokesman from the company.

According to him, each outlet set up a shared 'fund' to remind its employees not to commit the mistakes.

"If the pen cap is not closed, the hanger falls on the floor, and other mistakes, it will cause the clothes to become dirty. So the employees devised a system to prevent everybody from committing blunders."

As for the 'Fat Club' group chat used to monitor employees' weight, he said the move is set up to encourage employees to exercise and lose weight.

He also denied that Southaven orders employees to perform squats. He said the custom was introduced among the employees themselves as a form of self-motivation to hit sales targets next time.

Make sure to know your rights as an employee in Malaysia:

Meanwhile, did you know that cyberbullying, which includes body shaming, is a punishable offence?

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