August 11, 2003
Californians who worked recently for Abercrombie & Fitch will share in the $2.2 million settlement of a lawsuit that charged the retailer will forcing its employees to buy and wear its clothing while on the job.

State labor department officials had alleged that the company's "Appearance/Look Policy" was used to require store employees to buy and wear the company's clothes. California and most other states require employers to pay some or all of the cost of uniforms and other required apparel.

The agreement covers nearly 11,000 people who worked at Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister Co. and abercrombie stores in California from Jan. 1, 1999, through Feb. 15, 2002.

"These are workers who, by and large, may have been making more than minimum wage, but not a lot more," said Miles Locker, a California Labor Commission attorney.

Abercrombie says it has revised its policies. It will make reimbursements ranging from about $200 to $490 to more than 11,000 people who worked in its California stores during the period covered by the action.

The settlement is separate from similar class action lawsuits over Abercrombie's dress-code policies.

The company also faces charges of employment discrimination. A lawsuit filed last month charges that the New Albany, Ohio, chain discriminates against blacks, Hispanics and Asians with a corporate policy that requires all sales people to exhibit an all-white "A & F look."