In case you didn’t know, Prada has been undergoing a four year long legal battle with former Prada employee Rina Bovrisse, who is suing Prada Japan for alleged sexual harassment and discrimination claims. The suit took an interesting turn when Prada countersued Bovrisse for damaging its image.
Since then, Change.org has launched a petition to persuade Prada to drop the countersuit. This legal battle could be the most confusing suit in the industry to date and it’s hard to decide which side is right.
One example of discrimination Bovrisse witnessed was when a Prada Japan human resources executive ordered the demotion and transfer of numerous employees, mostly female, because they were “old, fat, ugly, disgusting or did not have the Prada look.” Bovrisse sued the company after she raised concern about the treatment of her co-workers and alleges that she was subsequently criticized for her own appearance, demoted and urged to resign.
A Tokyo court ruled in Prada’s favor in November, but the following April, Bovrisse had over 80,000 signatures (now over 200,000), on her Change.org petition against Prada. Bovrisse brought her case to the United Nations, who released an official response to Bovrisse’s testimony, which urges Japan to make sexual harassment and discrimination in the work place illegal.
The UN stated:
"The Committee urges the State party to introduce in its legislation an offence of sexual harassment, in particular in the workplace, which carries sanctions proportionate to the severity of the offence. The Committee also recommends that the State party ensure that victims can lodge complaints without fear of retaliation. The Committee recommends that the State party continue to raise the public awareness against sexual harassment."
Bovrisse is reportedly happy with the ruling and was quoted in saying:
“I hope Miuccia Prada realizes we live in 2013, that the power of social networking and individual voice can [bring attention to] any brands for doing the wrong thing… I am a happier person now not wearing brands to identify myself.”
Although the suit is by no means over, it sure has taken (yet another) interesting turn.
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