Racism allegations: Zalando wants to do more against discrimination in the future


The online fashion retailer Zalando released the results of an internal investigation on Thursday that the company launched into allegations of racism by former employee Fernando Torres. first reported the allegations.

“The investigation has not confirmed the core allegations,” said Zalando. Therefore one refrains from disciplinary measures. The core allegations include the Torres descriptions of racist language in the Zalando studios and the racist selection of models for the company’s online shop.

Zalando has asked former and current employees to report “any other incidents”. The company conducted a total of 26 interviews, viewed hundreds of photos of models and evaluated relevant communication via chat or email.

It emerged that in 2018 there were “individual cases in which discriminatory or insensitive language was used,” says a message from Zalando. The management team responsible intervened immediately.

The message also states: “Some interviewees reported additional cases of inappropriate language in the Zalando studios. Despite all efforts to get to the bottom of these allegations, we could not assign them directly to individual people. “

In addition to the identified individual cases, there are six cases of so-called microaggression, Zalando announced. These are comments or actions that subliminally or unintentionally express prejudice.

Measures against racism and discrimination

Zalando takes the investigation as an opportunity to introduce a new catalog of measures against discrimination in the company. This includes, for example, a glossary for inclusive language, expanding the diversity and equality team and increasing investments in brands whose founders are members of under-represented groups.

Co-founder and co-director Robert Gentz ​​also commented on the results of the internal investigation. “There is no place for racism at Zalando. This has always been our position and we want to make sure that is everyone’s experience. The findings from the study gave us more clarity about where we stand as a company, ”says Gentz. “We have derived specific ideas and approaches from them as to how we can better ensure that everyone – regardless of whether they are employees, customers, models or brand partners – feels valued, heard and supported in equal measure.”


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