Ann Arbor Area Community News
With Sam’s and The Planet having demonstrated a market, “sweatshop free” manufacturer American Apparel opened their own store in Ann Arbor last week just in time for Art Fair. One reader objects, sending a selection of links challenging AA’s reputation.
Not only has the company been accused of union busting – apparently considering themselves too worker-friendly to “need” a union, a la Whole Foods – but the company has faced several sexual harassment lawsuits recently, based on some interesting behavior by founder and CEO Dov Charney. (Charney writes off the lawsuits as “exploitative” attempts by disgruntled employees to capitalize on his “openness” about sex.)
From Business Week, 27 June 2005, Living on the Edge at American Apparel:
In his marketing, Charney has been adept at weaving his libertarian sexual attitude with his progressive labor practices. But it’s another matter to make that attitude a bedrock principle of the workplace. In their sexual harassment suits, two of the women accuse Charney of exposing himself to them. One claims he invited her to masturbate with him and that he ran business meetings at his Los Angeles home wearing close to nothing. Another says he asked her to hire young women with whom he could have sex, Asians preferred. All describe him using foul language in their presence, much of it demeaning to women. Says Keith A. Fink, an attorney for one of the women suing: “The work environment there makes Animal House look like choir practice.”
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