American apparel decides to lay down the law and put sexual harassment policies in place after firing longtime Dov Charney last month.

New CEO of American Apparel, Paula Schneider becomes company’s first female top boss

Even after an earlier suspension over complaints of sexual harassment, when Charney did not change his behavior, the company decided to sack him last December after reaching a conclusion that it would not be beneficial for the company to reinstate him.

Last year several women came forward and openly voiced their allegations about how Charney had sexually harassed them. Sexual harassment attorneys say they have more than enough to against him and to hold the company up for damages. However, Charney has reportedly considered the allegations as baseless. Even if the allegations are baseless he seems to have people problems nevertheless.

Picking up where Charney left off is not an easy task

After firing Charney, American Apparel installed a female chief executive who has her work cut out, which includes cleaning up the mess that Charney left behind. Charney has several sexual harassment lawsuits against him, alleging that he had sexual contact with several women. He defended himself saying that as the sex was consensual and therefore they had no grounds to sue him.

Given that American Apparel became famous for its Y-fronts and tee-shirts, its ad campaigns came under scrutiny following Charney’s alleged escapades. His churlish behavior with women gave the company a bad name and tainted its image.

Why would you even be near an animal with team like that?

Why would you even be near an animal with teeth like that?

A difficult task to accomplish for any company that built its good will and image over the years, American Apparel decided to pick up where Charney left off by employing a female CEO to reduce its sexual harassment stigma. Next, it revamped it ethics code, prohibiting any sort of discriminatory behavior, with an explicit warning to every employee to follow the code or face disciplinary action. The disciplinary body in this case would be the firm’s human resources department, which would undertake the responsibility to handle such disclosures discretely.

Relationship between senior and subordinates becomes off limits for employees

It has been reported that a 6,200 words long ethics code has been put in placed on American Apparel’s website which is sixteen pages long and four times longer than the code previously in place during the Charney years. The code explicitly states the code of conduct expected from company employees, stating its stand on intra-office relations, discrimination policy, and the prohibition of romantic relationships within the office, including casual dating. It also, explicitly states that no management level employee is allowed to make any sexual advances to their subordinates.

The new code of conduct also explicitly prohibits any sexual advances, inappropriate remarks, or jokes that could be considered abusive conduct in the work place that could create a hostile environment. This does nothing positive for company morale either.

The company hopes that with this new and revamped ethics code it would be able to effectively put its offices back on track and focus on business. Will they give employees more reason to engage sexual harassment attorneys? How will it affect its future ad campaigns? Only time will tell.