Ex-Prada Employee Sheds New Light On Discrimination, Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

PRADAPhoto: Courtesy of Prada.
Admittedly, when we think about fashion brands that empower women, Prada lands near the top of our list. So, when the news broke a couple of years back about the lawsuit alleging discrimination and sexual harassment against the Italian fashion house, it was — and continues to be — a huge shock and upset. The case involves Rina Bovrisse, a former executive at the Prada Japan offices who says that during her employment with the brand, she was not only subjected to discrimination because of her appearance, age, and weight, but was also accused of having mental issues when she brought her concerns to HR and the company's higher-ups. Hired in 2009, Bovrisse said her issues with Prada stemmed from her own alleged mistreatment, as well as the claims of abuse (verbal and physical) and sexual harassment of her fellow employees. And, in a recent interview with Salon, the U.S. citizen says she was eventually fired from Prada because she "brought negative energy to the company" by voicing her concerns. But, as the report claims, Bovrisse's work is hardly done yet.
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The 20-year fashion-industry vet eventually sued the brand for her mistreatment, but the case was dismissed, and the fashion house subsequently countersued the former employee for alleged defamation. As there seem to be more than just two sides to this story, it's a bit difficult to determine what's truth and what's injustice. However, Bovrisse continues to press forward today, championing women's rights in the workplace in Japan and in fashion, which she claims is "one of the worst industries for work conditions, human rights." We happen to disagree there, but we think this most recent interview is certainly worth a close read to make that judgement call for yourself. (Salon)
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