California clothing mogul incites wrongful termination

Too often a successful, well-known, and profitable business can give managers and executives the impression that they can get away with anything. In these cases, employees from entry-level to very experienced can find themselves in a difficult position. When the actions of a boss impedes on others' personal dignity, but reporting such conduct means a likely firing, where can a worker turn to?

An employee of the popular Los Angeles-based clothing brand American Apparel found himself in just such a situation this year, as an ongoing streak of disrespect and harassment at the hands of the company's CEO first made his job miserable and later led to his wrongful termination.

In an almost unbelievable tear of harassment that included gross verbal insults, an attempted strangulation, and smearing dirt on the lower-level employee's face, Dov Charney continued his now notorious behavior of mistreating his employees. The man, a California resident who had risen to the level of manager at the brand's Malibu store, is pressing charges in Superior Court that include assault, discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and wrongful termination.

What began as criticism about the man's management of the Malibu store became a string of physical altercations and obscene harassing phone calls and text messages. When the manager attempted to report Charney's indecent and threatening behavior to American Apparel's human resources department, he was told he would be fired for filing a complaint against the CEO.

As a result, a formal complaint was never filed by the man, but the company in retaliation terminated him in late July of this year.

While Charney may be one of the business world's most notoriously abusive executives (more than 25 harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination suits have been filed against him), he is but another example of the larger problem of superiors abusing their positions of power and privilege while mistreating lower-level employees.

Fortunately, very specific and effective employment laws exist that can help an employ reclaim damages for the personal and financial stress they may have experienced. Contacting an employment law attorney can clarify the options available for the wrongfully terminated, and will begin the building of a strong case for restitution.

Source: Courthouse News, "Fired Worker Calls Dov Charney a Wild Man," Rebekah Kearn, Dec. 03, 2012

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