That story has legs

BossFeed, the week in work: fifteen files; retail racism; hijab hiring; and fryer follies

FFS, if each person just carried one foot of the thing…

A year ago this week, the mayor of Seattle signed the city’s first-in-the-nation citywide $15 minimum wage into law, and despite the doomsday prophecies, the sky remains aloft. One business owner said they’d have to flee Seattle for Texas… and has since expanded. Another projected a quarter of all restaurants would shut down… and has opened five new outlets since then. And there’s like already a dozen more examples. In just a year.

In fact, pretty much the only legitimately bad news involving the number fifteen you can conjure up this week is the 15-foot-long sea-serpent type thing that washed up on Catalina Island. Just lifting the beast took… wait for it… sixteen people???

When a 16% poverty rate is looking good…

One in six US workers are working retail — and the proportion is growing, because retail is one of the fastest-growing jobs in our economy. As you might guess, retail jobs tend to pay low wages, and if you’re aware of racism, it will sound all too familiar to learn that a new report by Demos and the NAACP finds that people of color are more likely that white people to work retail — and tend to have the worst jobs in retail. It’s all the more striking because even the good jobs aren’t all that good: 61% of retail workers are paid less than $15/hour.

You see how this case points to some things that are related to racism & retail, right?

Anyone who’s been to a mall in the last decade or so knows that Abercrombie & Fitch takes its “look” pretty damn seriously. And it’s not just their billboards and in-store displays — it extends to their desired pool of employees too…. who they actually call “models” because it’s maybe the one thing more obnoxious than being called an “associate”.

Gross as it sounds, employers are actually allowed to make hiring decisions based on your looks (thus, Hooters) but they’re definitely not allowed to discriminate on the basis of religion, and Federal complaints charging religious discrimination are at near-record levels. So what happens when religious attire isn’t quite in sync with the “look” a marketing department is aiming for? An observant Muslim woman from Oklahoma pressed the point in court, and this week we got our answer under current US law: they can’t just not hire you because observing your religion means you wear a head scarf. Even if they don’t explicitly ask about religion. And even if your religious expression doesn’t fit their dress code. (Because that would be a sorry little loophole.) So score one for workers… and, if there's truly any justice, for the future of on-trend hijab designs at a shopping center near you.

If they flew the whole store to Montana on an Alaska Airlines regional jet, it’s perfect

KFC is suing people who are pushing Chinese-langage internet rumors that their chickens have 6 wings and 8 legs, which is an intriguing wing-leg ratio. There are 4600 KFC outlets in China.

KFC is hiring — they just got a new Colonel Sanders, played by SNL alum Darrell Hammond, which apparently is deserving of an Atlantic profile. They avoid the key issue: how similar that guy looks to the line drawing on the buckets.

And KFC is growing — a new combination KFC/A&W opened in Great Falls, Montana, including high-top tables (!), a drive-thru (!!), and a “new unique food line” (!!!). Is this capital flight from Seattle, the Puget Sound economic boom crossing state borders... or just another fast food outlet? The Internet Will Decide.