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We all know of Ulta Beauty — one step above Sally Beauty, but one step below Sephora.

Last month, Ulta was hit with a class action lawsuit — the company has been accused of repackaging and reselling used beauty products as well as putting expired items back on their shelves.

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Paula M. Ogurkiewicz, the lead plaintiff, alleges that Ulta imposed rigid return quotas which in return, hinted to employees to repackage these returned items and sell them as new ones. Doing so can expose customers to various diseases such as herpes or even E. coli, and is in violation of various Illinois state laws such as the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the Salvage Warehouse Store Act.

"The company's marketing and advertising of its beauty products is false, deceptive and misleading to reasonable consumers who believe that they are purchasing new, unused and previously unopened cosmetics," states the lawsuit.

This deception tricked consumers into buying products they would otherwise not buy while paying equal price.

Have these items been repackaged? www.freestufffinder.com

This problem directly relates the Ulta's favorable loyalty program — customers who participate can return beauty items for whatever reason, which clashed with the company's pressure to limit the amount of used products returned.

Ogurkiewicz aims to represent a nationwide group of Ulta customers and an Illinois subclass. She also seeks actual and punitive damages and a court order to stop Ulta from selling these used products.

What's crazy is that this isn't even Ulta's first lawsuit this year — back in February, the beauty company was hit with a previous class action lawsuit that accused it of the same thing. Kimberly Laura Smith-Brown, the previous plaintiff from Los Angeles, had evidence of a recent disclosure of a former employee.

"Despite the widespread internal knowledge of these deceptive, unfair and unsanitary practices, Ulta has continued to deceive consumers for years, repackaging, restocking and reselling used beauty products including cosmetics at full price as if they were new," states Smith-Brown.

But we're not finished yet — according to The Fashion Law, a shareholder is also suing Ulta for the distribution of false information and practices that, in the end, cost the shareholder money. Barbara Chandler, the shareholder, was correct in her assertion as Ulta's share price fell 4.15%, on the following day, February 12, 2018.

We don't know where these lawsuits are going to go, but the latest statement from Ulta reads: "We are aware of the lawsuit but to date we have not been served. We deny the lawsuit's allegations and intend to defend against this matter vigorously. As with pending legal matters, we are unable to offer additional comment."

Take that as you may, but this may be the downfall for one of beauty's biggest retailers — we'd much rather give our business to companies that don't endanger their customers.

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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