My favorite bodysuit retailer is under a barrage of disturbing lawsuits. The company has recently faced five sexual harassment cases that have been settled, dismissed or placed in arbitration. And NOW an employee is claiming he was fired because he refused to cook the books.
The latest case was brought by Roberto Hernandez, who handled accounts payable and computer issues for the company. He alleges that in 2006 Mr. Charney repeatedly “demanded that Mr. Hernandez pad the inventory” of the company in an effort to lure investors. American Apparel, then a private company, was seeking outside investment, according to Mr. Hernandez’s complaint.
In the court papers, Mr. Hernandez says he “refused to participate in any scheme to potentially defraud the investors,” a position that he believes led to his alleged termination on Nov. 9, 2006, about a week after he claims he refused to cooperate.
Mr. Hernandez’s complaint also contains unflattering allegations concerning American Apparel’s work environment that echo allegations in other recent lawsuits. The complaint alleges that Mr. Charney [the company’s CEO] discussed business with the plaintiff while in the shower, kept naked pictures of female workers on the company’s computer server, and took employees to “strip clubs under the guise of showing off T-shirts.”
And things get even shadier from American Apparel:
Earlier, a California appeals court criticized the company for planning to issue what it called a “materially misleading” press release claiming a victory in an arbitration proceeding in one of the sexual-harassment cases. In fact, before the arbitration was to begin, American Apparel had signed a settlement with the plaintiff agreeing to pay $1.3 million in exchange for a statement exonerating Mr. Charney.
Oh, this is so sad! American Apparel was, like, one of my very favoritest shopping places. But after reading all this, I may not be able to return. I’ll have to go elsewhere for my bodysuits.