Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Prada lawsuit to be heard by UN's Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

Maybe the devil really does wear Prada...or at least works there.  You might remember hearing about a discrimination lawsuit back in 2010 brought by a former Prada employee against her employer in Japanese court. The employee alleged being told by HR that her employer was ashamed of her ugliness, to lose weight and to change her hairstyle. The former Prada employee further alleged that Prada demoted and transferred 15 female employees, many of them top saleswomen, because they were "old, fat, ugly, disgusting, had bad teeth, bad bodies or did not have the Prada look.”  Thirteen employees "were transferred to other locations, but most of them ended up quitting instead."

The allegations of discrimination based on age, weight and beauty are mortifying but even worse, last fall the employee lost her battle when Tokyo District Court Judge Reiko Morioka ruled in favor of Prada, saying their alleged discrimination was "acceptable for a luxury fashion label" and that "a well-compensated female employee should be able to withstand a certain level of harassment." 

Despite its victory, Prada countersued its former employee "for harming the firm’s image." The former employee plans to "pitch the $780,000 countersuit as discrimination against employees." A panel from the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women will hold a hearing on the case later this month. The hefty media coverage since the lawsuit's inception has ranged from sympathetic to skeptical, where do you fall?
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