Bullying allegations against Frasers daughter Missy Empire

In a modern world where female empowerment and the growth of women in leadership positions are very important, the disappointment is even greater when brands use such concepts as pure marketing strategies. This is reportedly the case with Missy Empire, a Manchester-based fast fashion retailer. The Frasers Group company is facing allegations of a “toxic” work environment.

A new report from the British daily Guardian reveals a series of allegations from the brand’s former employees who were allegedly subjected to bullying, insulting and demeaning comments at the company. The employees support their claims with emails, screenshots and witness statements available to the media company.

The company was founded in 2015 by brothers Ash and Ish Siddique as an online shop “for women” with the aim of supporting women’s self-empowerment through fashion. The Guardian report shows that this plan is out of step with company practice. The 18 former employees mentioned in the report also describe cases of mistreatment in their allegations, particularly by managing director Ash Siddique.

Complaints about derogatory statements, insults and terminations without cause

The allegations include derogatory comments about the models’ appearance and insults to staff. Employees were also asked to model clothing for the brand. In addition, there were dismissals without justification being given and formal complaints were ignored. The lower positions were mostly occupied by young female employees, among whom there was a high fluctuation. Many of the employees who have now presented their complaints had not even been employed at Missy Empire for a year and a half.

The Frasers Group, led by Mike Ashley, was not spared from the Guardians report. The company, which initially acquired a majority stake in Missy Empire in June 2021 before taking over the brand completely from JD Sports in December 2022, had been made aware of the problems, according to the report. Several complaints were brought to the human resources department. However, according to the employees, no action was taken. One person was also told that Missy Empire did not have a human resources department as of March 2023.

While Frasers Group and Missy Empire remain silent on the allegations, a spokesperson for JD Sports, Missy Empire’s former owner, told B2B magazine Drapers: “Missy Empire was responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations, including its own human resources policies . However, as shareholders in the company, Missy Empire employees also had the opportunity to raise concerns about JD Sports’ human resources department.”

“Everyone has the fundamental right to feel safe and respected at work. There were a small number of issues that were officially reported to the company while we were owners. These have been fully investigated and dealt with in accordance with JD Group procedures.”

This translated post previously appeared on FashionUnited.uk. Translation and editing: Pia Schulz