Banana Republic Slips Up, Ships Personnel Files Instead of Tie

Banana Republic store
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By SUDHIN THANAWALA

SAN FRANCISCO -- With a little more than two weeks to go before their wedding, Emily Dreyfuss' fiance ordered a tie and pocket square from Gap chain Banana Republic's website to go with his Navy blue suit.

What the couple got in the mail instead on Thursday would make an identify thief giddy: the confidential files of about 20 former employees, including Social Security numbers and W4 tax forms.

"We totally laughed," Dreyfuss, 29, said on Friday from her home in Cambridge, Mass.

She had misgivings about the package as soon as it arrived. It was really heavy and didn't say Banana Republic, but Gap Inc (GPS).

She and her fiancee have been buying each other presents, and she thought it may have been a really heavy piece of clothing with catalogs, said Dreyfuss, the daughter of actor Richard Dreyfuss.


When he opened the package, inside were three folders sealed with tape and labeled "HR Administration." They contained tax and Social Security information as well as handwritten resignation letters, doctors' notes and salary information -- seemingly the employees' entire record at the company. The employees were sales support associates and at least one made $9 an hour, Dreyfuss said.

The resignation letters were mostly from March and addressed formally to "Ms." and then the person's first name. They were polite and positive, expressing thanks for the chance to work for the company and learning so much. Some ended by saying, "God Bless."

Dreyfuss, who runs the home page and also writes for technology website, CNET, said she didn't look through everything.

"I got a queasy feeling and felt like I should stop looking at this," she said.

Edie Kissko, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Gap Inc., said Friday the company would release a statement.

Dreyfuss said a Banana Republic representative has since responded to a tweet about the mix-up and apologized for what he called a "horrible mistake."

He said clothing and confidential information is sent out in the same gray bag, and the employee information appears to have been mislabeled. The representative said the store would look into what went wrong and inform the former employees, Dreyfuss said. They will send her a self-addressed, stamped envelope to return the information in.

Ironically, Dreyfuss said her fiancee recently received someone else's welcome packet from his new employer, with that employee's salary and Social Security number.

Dreyfuss said the episode with Banana Republic raises concerns about how well the company is safeguarding customer information if even its employees' information can be compromised.

"People should know about this because it's crazy and scary," she said.

She was offered a free tie and pocket handkerchief -- a $61 value, but said she declined.


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70 Comments

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greenwdmtg

I wonder if someone in HR is sporting a new tie & pocket square.

June 22 2013 at 11:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gurar

Oh, it was Banana Republic, the store. I thought it was the US government sending off personal information.

June 22 2013 at 9:59 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gurar's comment
ybob555

After seeing the headline, I thought so too.

June 22 2013 at 10:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pdbliz

Must have been goverment workers.!!!!!!! Could have been IRS,,,,,,FBI,,,,who knows now,!!!!!

June 22 2013 at 7:57 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Vincent Hill

I just got paid $6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that's cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over $9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do,
www.Dub50.cℴm

June 22 2013 at 7:26 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
jackieha123

Personnel files and clothing shipped out in the same grey bags, um..no.I don't think so. Why were the files of former employees being shipped anywhere at all? Makes no since and this explanation stinks!

June 22 2013 at 4:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jackieha123's comment
pdbliz

GOVERMENT HAD A HAND IN IT,!!!!!!!!

June 22 2013 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
petey

The files of former employees are shipped back to corporate offices regularly. Stores are very limited in size with most of the space dedicated to selling.

June 22 2013 at 10:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vcambri01

Tie or Personnel Records. I could see how they got confused. I have often gotten to the office and someone asked me why I had a box or records around my neck.

June 22 2013 at 3:32 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to vcambri01's comment
petey

Why did you have a box of records around your neck?

June 22 2013 at 10:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill

The Co. admitted what the problem was. Both in-house mail and shipping orders arrive in "gray bags". Wonder which parchment holding moron chose those bag colors? Good lord people. THIMK! Change the bag color-- problem solved. Surprised this doesn't occur more frequently. Unbelievable.

June 22 2013 at 3:25 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bill's comment
ybob555

Now Bill, you know that would be using "common sense" which it seems is no longer in fashion these days.

June 22 2013 at 10:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Margaret

Why did she look at the information that was clearly documented as human resources files?
Why is this reported upon?
People make mistakes... I am sure you've heard the saying that "People who live in glass houses should not throw stones."

June 22 2013 at 2:59 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Margaret's comment
Claudia Belle Rosen

I agree!

June 22 2013 at 7:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ty.mason

Why is this news? Mistakes are made. Get over it.

June 22 2013 at 2:49 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Steve

The daughter of Richard Dreyfuss, this guy hit the motherload!

June 22 2013 at 2:36 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply