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Popular Los Angeles retailer named in wrongful termination suit

A former American Apparel employee who signed an "At Will Employment Confidentiality Agreement" is now suing the company for wrongful termination and other wrongdoings. The employee has disclosed some very concerning issues regarding his employment with the company that he believes the public should be aware of, but American Apparel claims that the allegations are false and that the former employee has violated a "Mandatory Arbitration and Mediation Agreement" by filing a lawsuit against the company.

American Apparel is a well-known employer and popular retailer here in the Los Angeles area. The company has nearly 300 stores located in 20 different countries. Of the company's 10,000 employees, about half are located in Los Angeles and the surrounding area. However, American Apparel also fosters a hostile environment in which employees are prevented from speaking up about concerning matters, including employee rights violations, the former worker's lawsuit states.

The former American Apparel employee who is suing the company said that he began working for the retailer in March 2009. He claims that the confidentiality and arbitration agreements he signed at the time prevent employees like him who have experienced discrimination, harassment and other violations from being able to voice their concerns and properly protect their rights.

The ex-employee, who is 24, was fired from the company earlier this year. He said he was given no explanation as to why he was let go, and now he is suing for wrongful termination, discrimination and harassment. The ex-employee also claims that the CEO had assaulted him, which caused emotional distress.

These accusations are disturbing. The employee claims that during one incident, the CEO had rubbed dirt in his face. On other occasions, the CEO allegedly used religious slurs and other inappropriate language when speaking with the employee. The former employee doesn't want any other workers to have to experience what he went through.

American Apparel claims that the company did not violate any employment laws when it chose to fire the man.

Source: ABC News, "American Apparel CEO Accused of Rubbing Dirt on Face, Silencing Workers," Susanna Kim, Dec. 5, 2012

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