The local franchise of The Body Shop in Malaysia is in troubled waters. The company recently put up a job posting in one of its stores which stated that the store was exclusively hiring ethnic Chinese candidates only.
The job posting was brought to attention by Kishaniah Dhamodaran, a Facebook user, who posted a picture of the advertisement on the social media platform. She demanded an explanation for this discriminatory behaviour.
This post went viral amongst infuriated netizens. Some called the brand "racist" and "ignorant". A user even threatened to boycott the company's products if measures were not taken to revoke this "manner of hiring". However others, have also stood up for the brand. One Facebook user named Ang Siew Wen said she was working with the brand for over 13 years with colleagues of "all races" and celebrate all festivals.
In a quick response, The Body Shop Malaysia issued a public apology on Facebook and Twitter where it condemned the job posting.
This was an unsanctioned act by one of our store staff that we disapprove of completely. We are so sorry for the hurt this has caused. https://t.co/7QjOosraFS
— The Body Shop M'sia (@TheBodyShop_MY) January 12, 2017
In a statement to A+M, a spokesperson from the company said the brand has "reiterated the importance of its policy of equality during all [its] retail meetings." She added the brand "felt heartened by the many statements from our staff expressing how this act does not reflect at all the culture of inclusiveness of The Body Shop that they experience every day."
"We hope this clarifies things. We have always valued diversity and equal opportunity in our business, and we encourage you to drop by any one of our stores to see our values in action for yourself."
Meanwhile on Facebook, the brand also said:
"We understand your concern and frustration. We are understandably furious ourselves. Under no circumstances do we condone the amendment to this sign, and any such actions by any of our colleagues."
This was an unsanctioned act which goes against our HR policies, and it was removed immediately. We apologise for the hurt it may have caused.
"As an international company and also a brand which has campaigned against discrimination of any kind in Malaysia for over 30 years, our hiring policy is based on experience, aptitudes and skills. We have always and will always hire people of all ethnicities and gender. It is indeed a constant uphill task to change mindsets, and to continue nurturing the culture of inclusiveness that we have so painstakingly built over the years, even as we continue to grow The Body Shop family in Malaysia. But we will never give up - even if mistakes like this do happen!"
This, however, is not the first time a brand has landed in a turbulence due to racial discrimination. In the past, Cotton On too was in trouble for running erroneous job ad in Singapore. This was followed by an apology where the company categorised the post for a case of “human error.”