Dov Charney Must|Testify to Labor Board

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – Former CEO Dov Charney must testify about his supposed ties to a textile union organizing at American Apparel’s Los Angeles warehouses, a federal judge ruled.
     Since February, Charney has fought an American Apparel subpoena to testify at a National Labor Relations Board hearing, claiming his former company is asking him to disclose confidential information that would violate his privacy.
     A federal magistrate judge recommended that the Federal Court grant the NLRB’s request to order Charney to appear after he defied a hearing officer who asked him to testify at a Jan. 12 meeting.
     U.S. District Judge John Kronstadt adopted the magistrate judge’s findings and recommendation on May 6.
     In an email to Courthouse News, Charney’s attorney Keith Fink called the order a “non-story” and said that his client is a witness “not a party in this proceeding.”
     “You keep asking me to comment on a nonstory,” Fink wrote. “This is a Dov Charney NLRB case. He is a witness, not a party in this proceeding. So what do you want me to comment on? There will be some testimony from him next month as the employees at AA [American Apparel] attempt to unionize.”
     American Apparel declined to comment.
     The underlying fight is between American Apparel and the General Brotherhood of Workers of American Apparel, which wants to unionize the retailer’s L.A. warehouses.
     The workers filed a petition with the NLRB, which oversees elections for union representation. American Apparel is fighting the group’s efforts to organize partly because it says that Charney’s friends, roommates and former American Apparel executives created the union.
     That created a conflict of interest that should bar unionization, the company says.
     American Apparel subpoenaed Charney to testify about his communications with five people connected to the union, also referred to in filings as Hermandad Mexicana, “TeamDov” and “Workers United to Save American Apparel.”
     American Apparel wants Charney to produce financial records to account for the money it claims he paid to or loaned to the union or any business licenses he helped provide.
     Documents requested under the subpoena include communications or messages between Charney and his close friends, sensitive proprietary information and private details about this business dealings, Charney has said in court filings.
     He also claims that the subpoena allows American Apparel to go on a “fishing expedition” to obtain “free discovery” as it defends against five lawsuits Charney filed after his 2014 ouster.
     U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenly Kiya Kato has called Charney’s arguments “nonsensical” and “meritless.”
     In the 2-page order accepting Kato’s findings, Judge Kronstadt said that Charney must appear before the NLRB, hand over the subpoenaed documents and “answer questions related to the matters under investigation.”
     Kronstadt said Charney can submit to the NLRB a log of documents he believes are protected by attorney-client privilege. An NLRB officer can decide if the documents are protected by that privilege, Kronstadt wrote.
     Charney’s bid to reverse his December 2014 firing as American Apparel CEO ended when a U.S. bankruptcy court in February approved the company’s exit plan.

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