American Apparel CEO Dov Charney is accused of taking meetings in his underwear, verbally disparaging women and generally creating a hostile work environment according to the lawsuit plaintiff Mary Nelson. Based on this msnbc story, calling Charney a colorful character would be an understatement. Photo of Charney is courtesy of American Apparel.
Charney contends that he has built a workplace where freedom and creativity are critical to the success of American Apparel. He admits to running around his office in underwear while designing a new line, and even to being his own underwear model.
But Mary Nelson’s lawsuit is not his first. Which brings me to the topic of this post.
Sexual harassment is wrong, and it is clearly against the law. If your company has had one harassment lawsuit, that is one too many. Every employment lawsuit filed against a company makes it easier for any employee to file the next one, and the next one and the one after that.
Every problem related to harassment, discrimination, hostile work environment, etc. needs to be addressed and resolved promptly. Next, steps must be taken to insure that the problem never happens again to any employee.
Lawsuits will happen to every employer. Maybe you don’t take meetings in your underwear but if your company is doing anything else which might be inviting lawsuits, today would be a good day to make some changes.