It was almost too sweet. Saccharine scenes of unicorns jumping over rainbows to share ice cream cones with dolphins were bound to hide something nefarious. Lisa Frank, the company, is beloved. Lisa Frank, the person, is hated.
In the height of the sticker fad, the need to maintain production fostered a toxic corporate climate. Former employees compared the working conditions to everything from an “abusive alcoholic home” to the “Rainbow Gulag” to, bluntly, “the world’s shi**iest employer.” Lisa Frank heavily restricted her employees’ rights. Visitors were forbidden from the office. Banned from speaking to their coworkers, the staff worked in complete silence. Frank secretly recorded employees’ calls to make sure they followed her demands.
Disobedient employees were verbally abused by Frank’s husband and CEO James Green. In cocaine rattled tirades, Green belittled the staff. When name calling was not enough, Green resorted to throwing chairs, padlocking employees in their office, or threatening their lives. With the smallest infraction to justify firing, Green withheld worker’s severance packages and unemployment benefits. A collective action eventually forced them to maintain this minimal right. Free from their contracts, the workforce left en masse. They deserved the break.