American Apparel hipster-in-chief sued for sexual harassment, indignant that employees don’t keep quiet

Irene Morales, a young employee at a Chelsea American Apparel, is suing Dov Charney for sexual harassment. According to the New York Daily News, Morales seeks $260M in damages for forced sex acts over a period of eight months when she was only eighteen.

What makes this case so crazy is that according to AA’s response to Morales’s suit, CEO Charney makes employees sign “an agreement to submit any future claims to confidential binding arbitration.” That is: AA makes teen hires sign a contractual promise not to bring any public lawsuits against the company.

AA claims the hush contract was instituted to “protect the privacy interests of employees and former employees, and to prevent predatory plaintiffs and their attorneys from attempting to use the media to extort the company”:

The company intends to file a formal complaint with the NY state bar seeking disciplinary action against [the employee’s] lawyers who we believe are engaged in an illegal conspiracy to extort money from American Apparel. We are very confident that [her] claims will be promptly referred by the court to confidential binding arbitration where her claims and the company’s counter-claims will be resolved, we believe fully in favor of the company.

In fact, American Apparel employees keep suing Dov Charney for sexual harassment. It seems strange, right, that an employer who looks like this:

would be accused of sexual harassment? In response to a 2005 sexual harassment suit where an employee complained that Charney regularly walked around AA offices in his underwear, Charney said at his deposition: “I frequently drop my pants to show people my new product.”

This does not sound like healing.

American Apparel has attempted to turn Charney’s allure into a workable brand identity. Having risen risen to fame for hiring and firing employees based on full-length photos alone, AA famously fills its website and ads with half-naked young men and women twisted into poses and contexts that are…suggestive, at best.

When even hyper-suggestive ads aren’t working, American Apparel seems finally eager to silence Charney’s reputation. Not by healing, of course! By enforcing “confidential binding arbitration.”

Individuals and companies can enter into private contracts as they see fit. But this sounds more like silencing a teenager under an exploitative employer relationship.

What happened between Charney and the employees claiming harassment is hard to know for sure. But if you shake a haystack and a bunch of needles fall out — well — I certainly wouldn’t let my teenage self play in that haystack.

Here’s the full statement AA released in response to Morales’s suit (via HuffPo):

We have been informed today that Irene Morales, a former employee of American Apparel who left the company without complaint and resigned with a letter of gratitude regarding her positive experience at the company, has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in New York against the company. Upon her resignation, Ms. Morales acknowledged in writing that she had no pending claims against the company and signed a severance agreement which included a full release of claims and an agreement to submit any future claims to confidential binding arbitration. All American Apparel’s employees are subject to the same confidential arbitration agreement signed by Ms. Morales in order to protect the privacy interests of employees and former employees, and to prevent predatory plaintiffs and their attorneys from attempting to use the media to extort the company. Such an arbitration process was initiated by the company against Ms. Morales several weeks ago. The company intends to file a formal complaint with the NY state bar seeking disciplinary action against Ms. Morales’ lawyers who we believe are engaged in an illegal conspiracy to extort money from American Apparel. We are very confident that Ms. Morales’ claims will be promptly referred by the court to confidential binding arbitration where her claims and the company’s counter-claims will be resolved, we believe fully in favor of the company.

American Apparel founder Dov Charney accused of forcing teen employee into sex act in $260M suit

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Former Employee Sues Dov Charney For Sexual Assault

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2 responses to “American Apparel hipster-in-chief sued for sexual harassment, indignant that employees don’t keep quiet

  1. Pingback: World Spinner

  2. Pingback: Irene Morales

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