Update: Forever 21 has provided the following statement regarding the current lawsuit against the company: “Per our company policy, we are unable to comment on pending litigation, however we want to make it clear that Forever 21 takes the privacy of our team members extremely seriously. We have zero tolerance for any type of inappropriate behavior, and we are committed to making Forever 21 a safe space for all employees, without exception. We have been actively investigating this matter, which has involved law enforcement, our legal team, and national investigation teams. We are committed to our employees and will continue to search out those responsible for this heinous act.”
This story was originally published on November 30, 2017.
On Tuesday, a former Forever 21 employee, who's listed as Jane Doe, filed a federal New York complaint against the company, claiming it failed to prevent a hidden camera from being placed in a work restroom at its Providence, Rhode Island location in 2011. She's accusing the retailer of "negligence and invasion of privacy."
Doe, who worked at the store while she was a student at Providence College, claims that footage of her using the single employee bathroom has made its way onto multiple pornographic websites, WWD reports. She’s suing for at least $2 million for “extreme emotional damages.”
In her complaint, she said Forever 21 “did not equip the employee locker room with any security system/security features to capture or keep a record of non-store employees and/or other unauthorized persons entering into the area designated as the employee locker room of the employee restroom.” As a result, being “surreptitiously videotaped" and having the footage spread online, she said, “has caused, and will continue to cause, great emotional distress and embarrassment to plaintiff.”
As WWD noted, while one would assume it’s illegal to put a camera in the bathroom, Federal law and the Constitution only protect a person’s right to privacy from the government — everything else is regulated on a state-by-state basis. But according to the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, in Rhode Island "it is a crime to photograph or record the 'intimate areas' of a person in a place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, to disclose any images obtained by these means, and to look into and take images of, 'for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification or stimulation,' the interior of an occupied dwelling."
We've reached out to Forever 21 for comment and will update this post if/when we hear back.