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American Apparel creates new sexual harassment policy

Now that clothing company American Apparel has fired Dov Charney, its founder and CEO, after numerous accusations of sexual harassment, the company is changing its policy regarding treatment of employees. The company announced earlier this month that it has developed a new anti-sexual harassment policy.

The new policy makes it clear that American Apparel will not tolerate “discriminatory slurs, or any other remarks, jokes or conduct” of a sexual nature deemed by management to be harassment or otherwise create a hostile work environment. In a statement announcing the policy, American Apparel also said that managers are no longer allowed to have sexual relationships with their subordinates.

The new policy came about a month after Charney was ousted from the company following an internal investigation into several charges that he behaved inappropriately with his employees. He was the subject of multiple sexual harassment suits.

Following a long suspension from his job, Charney was fired in December. At the time, American Apparel’s investigation concluded that “it would not be appropriate for Mr. Charney to be reinstate as CEO” or have any other role in the Los Angeles-based company.

When a business is run by a person who sexually harasses employees, it is difficult to see how anyone could be protected from this conduct. Perhaps clearing house and changing its policies will make American Apparel a safe place to work out.

Meanwhile, when an employee who has been sexually harassed goes through the chain of command at work, only to have their report ignored or lead to retaliation, he or she may be able to sue for compensation. This can make the victim whole for what happened to him or her, and send the business the message that sexual harassment is not acceptable in California.