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C&A stirs up controversy for wanting refugee and transgender job applicants in Brazil

By Marjorie van Elven

Dec 6, 2018


Fast fashion retailer C&A is prioritizing transgender and refugee applicants in its hunt for seasonal staff for the holidays in Brazil. The company, which is recruiting for 5,000 temporary positions for its 270 stores across the country, has partnered up with two NGOs to reach out to these specific groups. “We’re doing our best to be as diverse as possible”, said C&A in a statement. “We find inclusivity to be crucial for building a more conscious society”.

However, the company did not disclose how many transgender and refugees it already employs, neither did it say whether the seasonal workers will have the opportunity to remain in the company in the long run. Shortlisted candidates will work for C&A for a period of 14 to 45 days.

The initiative was nonetheless well received by many social media users: “C&A, you’ve just earned yourself a loyal customer”, reads a comment on the brand’s Facebook page. “Things like these warm up my heart”, said another. But not everyone was happy with the news in a country that just elected a far-right politician best known for his homophobic remarks as president. “People should be hired for their competence, not their sexual orientation”, said a Brazilian Twitter user. “I remember the times when the key to getting a job was having a good CV and doing well at the interview. Now all you have to do is introduce yourself as trans or some other minority”.

This is not the first time C&A’s views on inclusivity stir up controversy in Brazil. In 2016, an advertising campaign titled “Dare, Mix and Have Fun” which said everyone can wear whatever they want regardless of their gender, was criticized by religious leaders such as celebrity pastor Paula Valadão. She asked Christians to boycott the retailer.

Photo: C&A store at Brazilian shopping mall, courtesy of C&A Brazil