Like schools and many other institutions, Prada goes to court to defend its actions against employees. And, like Prada, schools doesn't want the public to know about what happens behind closed doors. But schools are owned by the public, so the rules should be different: the public has a right to know what quasi-governmental agencies are doing. But even though this lawsuit is less egregious than public entity attorney lawsuits against employees for defamation, I still think it was unwise of Prada to file this suit.
"If Prada is concerned about its image, it should definitely stop this stunningly ugly example of corporate bullying."
Prada: Drop your lawsuit against former-employee Rina Bovrisse
Petition by Barrera Murakami Ayako, Japan
Petitioning Miuccia Prada & Patrizio Bertelli:
Rina Bovrisse, a former employee at Prada in Japan, was shocked when her boss told her to fire scores of coworkers because they were “old, fat, ugly, disgusting or did not have the Prada look.” When Rina spoke out, she was fired. Now, Prada is suing HER for $780,000 for allegedly damaging the Prada brand even though they don’t deny their discrimination.
Prada Japan hired Rina, a Japanese national, in April 2009 as Senior Retail Operations Manager and tasked her with overseeing 500 Prada employees. She moved to Japan with her two year old son, excited about the opportunity ahead.
Almost immediately, Rina began observing evidence of discrimination in Prada’s HR department. She recalls the company’s CEO ordering the demotion and transfer of fifteen female employees (many of them long-serving, top saleswomen) because they were “old, fat, ugly, disgusting or did not have the Prada look.” When she spoke out against this injustice, Rina was criticized for her own appearance, offered a demotion to an entry-level sales staff position, and then urged to resign.
In 2010, Rina and two of her Prada colleagues decided to take a stand. They filed a lawsuit against the luxury fashion label, arguing that Prada’s appearance-based discrimination and harassment violated Japanese law. But in 2012, the judge ruled that Prada’s demonstrated 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.
Now, Prada is taking the outrageous step of countersuing the single mother to the tune of $780,000 for speaking out about the company’s discrimination. It's bad enough Prada is discriminating this way, but to SUE a woman who fought back? That’s unacceptable and Prada must drop the suit.
As a woman and a mother in Japan, I have experienced gender discrimination in employment too. It’s a huge problem in my country where none of the top companies are led by women. Rina has become the symbol of this injustice in Japan and if we let a major company like Prada bully her, other women will be afraid to stand up against discrimination too.
Steve Guinn EDMONDS, WA
If Prada is concerned about its image, it should definitely stop this stunningly ugly example of corporate bullying.
michael baker LYNN, MA
I am burning everything prada I have because I am old, fat and better than prada.