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Suits and Counter-Suits in American Apparel Sex Harassment Case

Los Angeles- American Apparel Inc. filed suit Monday in L.A. Superior Court against a former employee in an attempt to pre-empt a sex harassment lawsuit the L.A.-based company believed would be filed against it by local plaintiff’s attorney Keith Fink [pictured].

As American Apparel expected, Fink also filed a sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit on Monday against American Apparel on behalf of Wei Ween Yang, a former American Apparel customs order manager, also known as Nikky Yang, who the company sued on Monday.

Joyce Crucillo, American Apparel’s general counsel, said the company’s pre-emptive suit against Yang asks a state court judge to issue a declaratory judgment ruling that any discrimination or harassment claims Yang brings against the company have passed the statute of limitations.

“Instead of being victimized by Fink and another one of his frivolous lawsuits designed to extort money from us through the media, we wanted to take an affirmative action and come to the court and the public and say we would like a declaration that American Apparel has not discriminated or harassed,” Crucillo said.

Crucillo said the company, an L.A.-based garment manufacturer and retailer, filed the pre-emptive suit, a rare move in employment disputes, because American Apparel knew that Fink would be involved in the case.

“I found out that Fink was going to represent Yang because I had intercepted an e-mail he sent to her old work e-mail address,” Crucillo said. “There is a long and ugly history between American Apparel and Fink.”

Fink, a West L.A. labor and employment attorney, has previously filed two sexual harassment and employment discrimination lawsuits against American Apparel and its Chief Executive Dov Charney.

“If they don’t feel money should be paid on a case, then they shouldn’t pay it,” Fink said. “The facts speak for themselves. The best they can do is try to tarnish me. I don’t know how else to comment.”

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