• Home
  • News
  • Business
  • A look into the workplace ‘bullying’ allegations against Frasers’ Missy Empire

A look into the workplace ‘bullying’ allegations against Frasers’ Missy Empire

By Rachel Douglass


Scroll down to read more


Missy Empire online website. Credits: Missy Empire.

In a world that has seemingly taken the concepts of female empowerment and “girl bosses” under its wing, it still sometimes comes as somewhat of a shock when brands that claim to advocate for such messages are ultimately revealed to actually be doing the opposite. This is now reportedly the case for Missy Empire, a Manchester-based fast fashion retailer owned by Frasers Group, which has found itself in the midst of accusations regarding a “toxic” workplace environment.

A new report by the Guardian has unveiled a series of claims in relation to alleged bullying, abusive and degrading comments withstood by former employees of the company, all of which were able to back up their allegations through emails, screenshots and testimonials seen by the media outlet.

The company was initially co-founded by brothers Ash and Ish Siddique in 2015, who established the e-tailer as being “for the female”, while bolstering the mission of providing empowerment through clothing. While this may be the case, the report by the Guardian shows little evidence of such a goal coming through in the actual workplace of the company. In fact, 18 former employees who spoke to the publication described instances of alleged mistreatment, particularly by Ash Siddique, the managing director.

Claims regarding degrading comments, swearing and terminations without cause

These included degrading comments about models’ physical appearances, swearing at staff, employees being asked to model clothing, firing without a given reason and ignoring formal complaints. Such testimonies also suggested junior roles were made up of a predominantly young female staff who had a high rate of departures and dismissals among them, with many of those coming forward having only stayed with Missy Empire for no more than a year and a half.

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has also not come out of these revelations unscathed. The conglomerate, which first snapped up a majority stake in Missy Empire in June 2021 before acquiring it in December 2022 from JD Sports, had reportedly been made aware of the issues, with several complaints being brought to the attention of its human resources department. According to staff members that did share issues, however, no action was taken, with one individual also being informed that Missy Empire did not presently have a HR function back in March 2023.

While Frasers and Missy Empire have continued to maintain their silence on the allegations, a spokesperson for former owner JD told Drapers: “Missy Empire was responsible for the day-to-day running of the business, including its own HR procedures. However, as a significant shareholder in the company, Missy Empire colleagues also had the opportunity to escalate any concerns through JD’s HR department or whistleblowing policy.

"Everyone has the fundamental right to feel safe and respected at work. There were a small number of issues that were formally reported to the company during our ownership, and these were investigated fully and addressed in line with JD Group’s procedures.”

Frasers Group
Missy Empire