I worked at American Apparel for two years. During the time that I worked there, the company implemented a company-wide recruitment policy where any person applying for a position must be photographed (1 headshot, 1 body shot) The actual resumes were thrown in the garbage. These photos were then sent to a company email address where someone would either give a thumbs up or down to the photographs. Staff were encouraged to recruit instore and on the street and were given a $100 bonus for every person they got approved.
Before this was implemented, all existing staff were photographed (again, 1 headshot and 1 body shot) Anyone deemed to be physically unworthy was let go from the company. Of course this wasn’t legal, however right before they started this process every employee had to sign a waiver form, that was pretty much a lot of legal gibberish, on the spot. I wanted to have a lawyer take a look at the form however I was told I had to sign it on the spot or I would be let go.
There was also a company intranet website which all employees where to check on a regular basis. This was Dov’s main line of communication to all staff. The site would have pictures of girls from the stores where he would rip them apart for having too thin eyebrows, for having “ugly make-up” or bad tattoos and piercings. They were basically publicly shamed for not looking the way he wanted to. He would also post memos saying things like “HIRE MORE ASIANS”
Most of the girls that I worked with were super young, I was the oldest in the store at 20. We even secretly employed one girl’s little sister who was only 13. A lot of the time when the guys from head office would come in they would take pictures of the girls in the store. Some of the girls wanted extra attention so they would pose pretty raunchy for them, mostly they just side boob and stuff but sometimes it got kind of weird. Also, every city with an American Apparel also has a company hotel room. Personally, I never went with them, but when the head office guys came to town they would take a few girls from the store with them for the night. I heard stories about tons of weird crap going on those nights and I know for a fact many of those girls were under 18.
I worked at AA for a year and I can verify all of this. I was a merchandiser that was let go for not being up to physical standards (but the official reason was time and attendance, when I was pulling 12 hour days 4 times a week). They had an “auditor” from corporate come into town to “audit.” She had an hour long meeting with us telling us that we needed to dress sexier and wear more heels and tights (but if we had a run in our tights we could be fired/written up). Since I was a merchandiser, there was no way I was going to be wearing heels on 12-foot ladders, lugging around mannequins all day. They told me to dye my hair and get rid of my piercings, I said no, they let go of me a few days before Christmas.