American Apparel employees

Twenty Days of Harassment and Racism as an American Apparel Employee

once I graduated university we relocated to a unique city and desired a low-stress job that will enable me personally time and energy to target creative tasks. I knew individuals who had worked for United states Apparel before, in both sales at the Los Angeles head office, and so I chose to interview for a part-time position.

My buddies had had blended experiences. I became attracted to the business because I attempt to make honest customer choices, and I appreciated that American Apparel will pay their garment employees well and doesn't use sweatshops. But I was additionally really cautious with the intimate harassment allegations against the business's previous CEO, Dov Charney. Because he previously also been asked to step down from their place, it appeared like the business had been making development.

I decided to take a journal of my experience.

Interview process: The supervisor who interviews me seems mostly interested in whether i'm "a good fit when it comes to brand name." She asks questions about my modeling history, and emphasizes the significance of employees representing the business really through how they dress. She states the business wants to emphasize that they're "vertically integrated, " but does not know very well what the word suggests.

July 22: to my first day, my manager instructs myself on how to seek out possible shoplifters: "consider black colored women, because they're always the people shoplifting." She says, "I know it is a stereotype, but it is true."

July 23: certainly one of my coworkers insists that Dov Charney shouldn't be blamed when it comes to intimate harassment of staff members because "it's nothing like he raped all of them" and "it appears like they certainly were into it, also." She says that folks often come right into the store and ask workers what they consider their CEO being recognized for sexual harassment, and she "doesn't understand just why they make such a problem out of it."

July 24: A coworker verifies my observance the manager pages consumers and staff members, by both battle and attractiveness. "Every time a girl drops off the woman application, the first thing she asks myself is if your ex had been pretty, " she tells me. "And she never hires black girls. We only have one, and she works in straight back stock." At American Apparel, there's an emphasis on having "suitable kind of customer" wearing the clothing, and I notice that customers which fit the brand visual (attractive, trendy) are helped with more passion.

July 25: A man requests my assistance picking undies, and would like to understand what dimensions I think he is. We direct him to a size chart in the wall close to the underwear. He proposes to pay us to view him test underwear and tell him which I believe are the most readily useful fit. Once I tell a coworker, she actually is unconcerned. She claims that at American Apparel, this "just takes place" which i willn't let it get to me.

July 29: While helping a client into a suitable room, the supervisor passes me personally a note that claims "WATCH HER ITEMS!!!" The customer is black. It is obvious that racial profiling not only occurred regularly, but that as an employee ended up being likely to enforce it.

August 6: A coworker concerns the break room visibly upset. Once I ask this lady what's bothering this lady, she claims that while assisting a man discover clothing for their spouse, he told her to use all of them on for him since she along with his wife had been about the same dimensions. She was not comfortable carrying it out, since he picked out many mesh/sheer things that are intended to be used without a bra, but she believed want it had been her work to help him. Whenever she attempted those items on and came out regarding the fitting area, addressing by herself, he pulled the woman hands down making sure that the woman breasts were exposed. Then slipped a twenty buck bill into the woman jeans.

Trembling and upset, she told the manager just what took place. The manager replied, "Well, it seems like he is gone today." There would not appear to be a protocol for workers that sexually harassed, plus the manager had been completely unconcerned when an employee indicated distress over harassment. She had not been allowed to keep work early, and she felt like clothing she had been putting on had been partially at fault. "It's because we wear these items, " she informs me, gesturing to her backless gown.

August 10: A coworker tells me that the guy who harassed the salesperson within fitted spaces had came back and asked another girl to test garments on for him. She was also uncomfortable with this, but the manager told her she could do so so long as she wore anything underneath, although she knew that a girl was indeed harassed within circumstance just days before. Another employee called the authorities upon acknowledging the man; the cops encouraged everybody else to ask the guy to go out of the next occasion he showed up.

August 11: we stop the job without providing notice. I am aware it is unprofessional, but I feel such as the work environment was harmful sufficient that i willn't spend any longer time there for my personal well-being. I am deeply disrupted and upset by these unprofessional habits that appeared to be acknowledged by my coworkers and supervisors, and also by the sexualized part that employees were expected to play inside selling of clothes.

I knew this is a design-oriented business, which appearances are important towards the brand name. But I didn't understand is merely how image-obsessed the staff and customers had been likely to be. The weather is hyper-sexual, and employees were anticipated to fit that image—even to the point of trying garments on for consumers. Employees are thought be designs or representatives associated with the brand name, in addition to supervisors were truly concerned with just how their feminine staff members were using the clothing. It did actually work—all for the staff members had been enthusiastic about the garments, attempting things on and painting their nails while they were clocked in and investing significant portions of the paychecks on US attire product.

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