The chief executive of the retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, Michael S. Jeffries, is a stickler for details, especially when he flies.
Employees working on the company’s Gulfstream jet must greet Jeffries and his guests wearing the uniform of an Abercrombie polo shirt, jeans, flip flops, boxer briefs, and a ‘‘spritz’’ of the company’s cologne; provide copies of several magazines (inserts removed); and respond to requests by saying, ‘‘No problem,’’ rather than ‘‘Sure,’’ or ‘‘Just a minute,’’ according to a manual submitted in an age-discrimination lawsuit against the company by a former pilot.
Jeffries is widely credited with turning the staid Abercrombie brand into a sexy, cool, must-wear fashion on college campuses in the 1990s.
But along the way, he has attracted more than his share of controversy, including a recall of catalogs in the 1990s over images that critics say promoted binge drinking and a call for a boycott in 2004 from the head of USA Gymnastics over a T-shirt that said ‘‘L is for Loser,’’ next to a picture of a gymnast. That same year, Abercrombie agreed to pay $40 million to black, Hispanic, and Asian employees and job applicants to settle a class-action federal discrimination lawsuit that accused the clothing retailer of promoting whites at the expense of minorities.
The aircraft manual is part of a lawsuit filed in 2010 by a pilot who claims he was let go so that the company could hire younger pilots. Abercrombie denied the allegations in its court filings, saying the pilot had been employed by a jet company, not Abercrombie.