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Founder of American Apparel fired after harassment claims

Category: Hostile Work Environment

If an employee is being mistreated on the job, it is up to the company to remedy the situation and make sure that steps are taken to protect the worker. Failure to do this could result in serious consequences for a business if a victim of harassment or discrimination decides to file a lawsuit against the company.

Employees who are abused, harassed or discriminated against by a supervisor can be very scared to file a complaint. However, when they do, it is a company’s responsibility to take the allegations seriously. That is what the board of directors at American Apparel claims they were doing when they decided to fire the company’s founder recently.

Reports indicate that Dov Charney, who founded the clothing company in 1998, has had a long and troubling history of mistreating his workers and abusing his role at the company. Many people have claimed that he sexually harassed them or discriminated against them based on their gender, religious beliefs, ethnicity or sexual orientation. These allegations, in addition to his refusal to participate in a sexual harassment training program, apparently became too much for the company to handle.

The board of directors decided to fire Charney, saying that his negative history had been damaging to the company’s reputation. Charney, on the other hand, is arguing that the board’s decision is improper and that the reasons for his dismissal are inadequate. Charney maintains that his behavior was far in the past and has promised that unless he is reinstated, he will file a wrongful termination lawsuit against American Apparel.

Business owners have a responsibility to act when someone is accused of sexual harassment or otherwise violating an employee’s rights, no matter how high-profile an alleged offender is or what position he or she holds. If they do not respond adequately or ignore these claims, the company can be named in a lawsuit filed by a victim.

Source: The Independent, “‘Reinstate me or I’ll sue’: American Apparel’s Dov Charney vows to win company back after being fired,” Maria Tadeo, June 23, 2014

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