THINX — the company that produces period-proof underwear that can replace your pad, tampon, or menstrual cup — has tried to destigmatize menstruation and is thus used to pushing boundaries. But recent allegations of what's been happening at THINX claim that the company brought that boundary-pushing ethos into its corporate culture in an inappropriate way. As reported by The Cut, former head of public relations Chelsea Leibow filed a complaint against former THINX CEO Miki Agrawal making claims about several kinds of inappropriate behavior, including allegations that Agrawal talked about and touched her employees' breasts (something other employees say the witnessed), changed in front of her employees, showed them nude pictures of herself, made fat-shaming comments, and attended video conferences while in the bathroom and in bed undressed. In a statement to Bustle, a THINX spokesperson responded to Leibow's allegations, saying that the "company commissioned an investigation that concluded the allegations had no legal merit."
There were also claims of unfair policies in the workplace in a piece published by Racked, where anonymous current and former THINX employees made claims about limited parental leave, as well as low pay and limited health insurance that led one employee to say she was unable to afford birth control. Reportedly, 10 of the 30 or so employees at THINX have quit since January. Agrawal stepped down as CEO on March 16, posting a statement regarding her departure on Medium the following day. "I ... realized that I’m not the best suited for the operational CEO duties nor was it my passion to do so, so after 12 years of thinking about and working on THINX (my twin sis and I came up with the idea in 2005), I officially stepped down as CEO," she wrote.
Bustle reached out to THINX to respond to the recent allegations made by Leibow and anonymous former employees, and a THINX spokesperson said: "We take matters related to our company culture very seriously, and we are taking action to make meaningful improvements. Miki Agrawal is no longer CEO, and we are working to put new leadership and policies in place so we can continue to grow and thrive. To support this effort, we have hired an executive search firm to assist in the recruitment of a new CEO. We are also hiring a human resources executive and, in the interim, have engaged a human resources professional who is working in our offices to support our progress."
The spokesperson also acknowledged Leibow's sexual harassment allegations, telling Bustle, "Related to Ms. Leibow’s allegations, THINX has not been served with a legal complaint or charge from any agency. When the issues were brought to our attention following Ms. Leibow's departure from THINX, the company commissioned an investigation that concluded the allegations had no legal merit. The company cannot comment further on these legal matters."
It would seem that THINX's human resources department could likely have prevented behaviors like the ones former employees are alleging — except THINX didn't have a human resources department at the time. Agrawal said in a post on Medium, "I didn’t put HR practices in place because I was on the road speaking, doing press, brand partnerships, editing all of the creative, and shouting from the rooftops about THINX so we can keep going." Agrawal said some of her comments were taken out of context. In the post, she insisted that employees' concerns were met, like how they doubled their monthly insurance immediately after workers asked for it.
In an interview with The Cut, Leibow said she had reportedly been voicing her concerns for months but was fired in December for "poor performance."
It's clear that THINX is currently examining its corporate culture to address these concerns. The company offers high-quality products that challenge period stigma and change the lives of its customers and those who receive its charitable donations — but if these allegations are true, it is time for the company to focus on providing that same care and empowerment to its employees.