American Panda Express was exposed: verbal insults forced to strip and hug collectively

An ex-employee of a Panda Express in SantaClarita, California, is suing the company for sexual battery,sexual harassment and more regarding a training seminar in whichparticipants were verbally berated and required to take offclothing

  • The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) March 9, 2021
    A training session at Panda Express, a major Chinese restaurant chain, allegedly included repeatedly insulting employees and requiring them to strip down to their underwear and hug each other in a cult-like ritual.
    A former employee of PandaExpress, a large Chinese restaurant chain in the United States, accused the company of requiring employees to participate in promotion training sessions, which included constant insults and hugging each other after stripping down to their underwear, similar to a cult ritual. Panda Express responded that it would seriously follow up on the incident, stressing that the course was provided by a third party and had nothing to do with the company.

Panda Express was founded by Taiwanese American businessman Andrew Cherng and his wife Peggy Cherng in the 1980s and now has more than 2,000 locations across the United States. The anonymous former employee, 23 years old, joined the company in 2016 and worked at a store in Santa Clarita, California, where in July 2019 she and other associates were asked by the store manager to participate in a four-day training course at their own expense for a promotion.

The course was conducted by Alive Seminars, a training organization, in a warehouse on the East Los Angeles side of the city. The course was conducted in a warehouse in East LosAngeles. The petition states that the course was attended by about 20 to 50 participants, that there was no clock in the venue, that all windows were sealed with black paper, and that all participants were strictly prohibited from using cell phones, which felt like “a secret interrogation of a suspected terrorist.

According to the petition, the course initially required all participants to sit in silence for one hour, and then arranged for a man to roar at all participants in Spanish, but the participants were not allowed to respond. The course was followed by a lecture by a military-like instructor who ranted at all the participants, denigrating them as “nothing” and “don’t matter. The petition states that most of the participants stayed on because the course was about job advancement opportunities.

The next part of the course was a “trust-building exercise” in which all participants were asked to strip down to their underwear, speak out loud about their internal struggles, and then hug each other. The petition states that the plaintiff was forced to hug a man in his underwear who was sobbing and clearly resistant to the exercise.

The course staff then dimmed the lights in the room and asked everyone to close their eyes and imagine that a light was shining from a height onto the ground, saying that the light would “take away” the negative energy of the participants. The petition alleges that one of the staff members used a cell phone to take pictures of all the students, including the petitioner, almost naked, violating the privacy of the students. The petitioner finally couldn’t take it anymore and withdrew from the course, citing a Family emergency as the reason. She then resigned from Panda Express in the same month due to emotional distress.

Last month, the victim filed a complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Panda Express and Alive Seminars for sexual battery, promoting a hostile work environment and deliberately creating emotional stress. Oscar Ramirez, an attorney representing the company, said he wanted to make the case clear to the jury that Panda Express had to stop the promotion training.

Panda Express responded that it is investigating the allegations, stressing that the company does not own AliveSeminars and was not involved in its decisions, and clarifying that the company has never indicated that employees must participate in the training in order to be promoted. ” AliveSeminars responded by saying that the course was conducted with respect and dignity of the participants.