Every company has its own guidelines and standards for conduct in the workplace, but crazy American Apparel employee rules take things to a new level. Henry David Thoreau once said "beware of all enterprises that require new clothes," but the creepy rules American Apparel employees have to follow really bring that advice home.
From makeup to shoes and hairstyles, American Apparel employees were really earning their minimum wage pay, "properly" representing the image of the company. Weird American Apparel policies ran the gamut from mundane – like making employees buy and wear company clothes at work – to off-putting, such as requiring managers take pictures of employees so the company's CEO could review them.
Companies often say employees are the most important part of their business, but based on stories from former associates and managers, it's no surprise then that American Apparel went bankrupt and fired its founder and CEO. Yes, this list of insane American Apparel employee rules will have you thankful you were never an associate for the company.
Only Pretty People Were Promoted
American Apparel was committed to representing itself as a brand for attractive young people. It was so dedicated to this mission statement that it used attractiveness to determine the career paths of its employees. Workers at American Apparel were explicitly promoted based on looks, rather than job performance, sales, or customer service skills. The company even had a name for the discriminatory practice: the "Full Body Head to Toe" policy.
Managers Visited Stores To Evaluate Employee Attractiveness
Upper management at American Apparel decided to get a real sense of the "company aesthetic" by visiting stores and meeting employees face-to-face. A company spokesperson stated that while employees occasionally sent photos to management, it was more common for a store visit to take place for what is described as a brand messaging meeting.
More accurately, managers were creepily evaluating employee attractiveness.
Hiring Policies Were Racist
While American Apparel was not necessarily against hiring minorities, it certainly had unpublicized standards concerning its prospective employees. While these standards weren't addressed in employee handbooks, managers certainly had an idea of what type of people fit the American Apparel mold.
Black people specifically needed to be "classy." What does this mean exactly? Well, one former hiring manager describes the ideal black AA employee as: "none of the trashy kind that come in, we don't want that. we're not trying to sell our clothes to them. try to find some of these classy black girls, with nice hair, you know?"
American Apparel Managers Were Required To Send In Photos Of Workers
Until he was fired in 2015, American Apparel founder and CEO Dov Charney required his managers to take full body pictures of employees. Former associates said this incredibly disturbing practice was used to decide if employees were attractive enough to continue working at American Apparel stores.
Charney claimed to be refining the aesthetic of the company, but regardless of the intention, this unethical process came across as extremely creepy.