It’s beginning to seem like it’s impossible for Zara to say out of controversy.
This time it’s a lot more serious than as the company’s former US General Counsel, Ian Jack Miller, served Zara U.S. and several Zara executives with a hefty lawsuit. Miller is asking for more than $40 million in damages because the company discriminated him for being Jewish, American, and gay.
Miller’s suit references several Zara’s public incidences of racial insensitivity, including the time they thought selling shirts that look like concentration camp uniforms was a good a idea. In addition, according to Fashionista, his suit also claims the company favors employees who are “straight, Spanish and Christian.”
The lawsuit goes on to paint a disturbing picture of the company’s internal culture during Miller’s time at the company from Jan 2008 to March 2015. Trips to prostitutes were a normal part of business trips and the heterosexual lifestyle was strongly endorsed.
According to Miller, the former Zara US CEO Moises Costas Rodriguez made no secret about his penis size and about sleeping with five of his female subordinates. Another Zara executive sent Miller’s partner a picture of a tattooed erect penis and had been trying to convince Miller to get the same tattoo.
In addition, the company executives did not hesitate to make Anti-Semetic remarks in his presence even after they were aware of his religion. The senior executives often made negative comments about the various Jewish landlords and how difficult it was to work with them. Once they learned Miller was Jewish, which incidentally happened to occur at the same he suggested the company comply with New York labor laws, Miller was excluded from important emails and meetings, and his annual pay raises were dropped from 15% to 3%, despite his good performance reviews and company profitability.
The rampant racial discrimination even extended to Obamas. Miller’s suit claims there are “emails portraying Michelle Obama serving fried chicken and emails depicting Barack Obama in a Ku Klux Klan hood, with a Confederate flag, on a Cream of Wheat box, on an Aunt Jemima box and shining shoes.”
Once Miller sought legal counsel, he sent a letter to the company outlining his claims and his hope to come to an agreement, he was allegedly fired the very next day. He also believes Zara’s connections with retailers and real estate has contributed to his struggle finding a new position.
Fashionista reported a company spokesperson had this to say about Zara:
“[Zara is a] diverse and multicultural company” with a “strong social commitment based on fairness, respect and equality for all. [These allegations are] shocking and [the company] will respond strongly and vigorously to these allegations in the Court.”
However, the evidence against the company seems to be comprehensive and inescapable.
SOURCE: Fashionista | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty