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.
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.
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?"
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.
As if AA's dress code wasn't strict enough, the company also had stringent rules regarding eyewear. Employees not only had to wear outfits from the store, but they were also forbidden from wearing eyeglasses that were made by outside brands. Apparently, American Apparel would rather have their employees be blind than allow them to have clear vision through lenses made by Calvin Klein or Tommy Hilfiger.