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Urban Outfitters Asks Its Employees to Work for Free as ‘Team Building’

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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Urban Outfitters's busiest month is October and instead of shoring up for the wave of extra flannel and fedora orders by bringing on additional employees, the brand is asking its salaried employees to take on extra weekend work, Gawker reports. In an e-mail sent from Urbn, the parent company which owns Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People, full-time employees are asked to take on the work under the guise of "a team building activity!"

However, unlike most team building activities, this one will include picking, packing, and shipping orders from the fulfillment center. In exchange, the employees will receive transportation, lunch, and the opportunity "to experience [Urbn's] fulfillment operations first hand." The e-mail also explicitly states that they "need additional helping hands to ensure the timely shipment of orders." We're guessing this is the kind of team building activity that's mandatory.

Here's the full e-mail, via Gawker:

From: URBNcommunity

Sent: Tuesday, October 06, 2015 12:01 PM

Subject: A Call For URBN Volunteers!

A Call for URBN Volunteers!

URBN is seeking weekend volunteers to help out at our fulfillment center in Gap, PA. October will be the busiest month yet for the center, and we need additional helping hands to ensure the timely shipment of orders. As a volunteer, you will work side by side with your GFC colleagues to help pick, pack and ship orders for our wholesale and direct customers.

In addition to servicing the needs of our customers, it's a great way to experience our fulfillment operations first hand. Get your co-workers together for a team building activity!

The Details:

Who: Home Office URBN salaried employees

Where: URBN's Fulfilment Center - 766 Brackbill Road, Gap, Pennsylvania 17527

What You'll Be Doing: Pick, pack and prepare packages for shipment(please wear sneakers and comfortable clothing)

When: October 17, 18, 24, 25, and 31 Lunch will be provided

Two shifts each day: 9:00 AM - 3:00PM or 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM

(you can volunteer for one or multiple days)

Transportation: If needed, URBN will provide transportation to and from GFC (details provided after sign up)

How: Sign up using this link and we will be in touch with more details. Please do not show up without signing up.

Update: Urban Outfitters sent a statement to WWD, saying that the company reached out to employees for help at the new fulfillment center particularly through the month of October, and that interested hourly employees weren't allowed to volunteer due to labor laws. "Unsurprisingly, we received a tremendous response, including many of our senior management," Urban Outfitters told WWD. A media spokesperson for the brand declined to answer WWD's questions about whether this volunteer opportunity has happened in the past or whether Urban considered paying overtime to hourly employees or considered hiring temps.