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Fashion retailer Zara sued for discrimination

On June 3, a former Zara employee filed a lawsuit against the fashion retailer in New York State Supreme Court. The plaintiff, who worked as a corporate attorney for Zara USA, claims that he suffered workplace discrimination and was fired for being gay, Jewish and American. He is seeking a damage award of over $40 million.

According to the plaintiff, top executives at Zara exchanged sexually explicit and racist emails and made anti-Semitic comments. The plaintiff says that he did not tell anyone at Zara that he was the only Jewish employee, but he was fired soon after top executives learned that fact. The man had worked at the company for seven years and just recently represented Zara's interests in a $300 million real estate deal.

The top executives named as defendants in the lawsuit were reportedly trusted lieutenants of Amancio Ortega, the founder of Zara's parent company and one of the richest people in the world. Prior to the lawsuit, Zara had dealt with two scandals involving culturally insensitive imagery on some of its clothing. The first incident involved a women's purse with swastikas on it, and the second involved a children's shirt that resembled a Holocaust concentration camp uniform.

A person who has been discriminated against in the workplace may have enough evidence of the prohibited behavior to build a successful claim. A lawyer may be able to help someone in this situation to gather evidence of a hostile work environment and assess the extent of damages. If there is evidence of discrimination of other employees besides the plaintiff, this may help to bolster the plaintiff's assertions.

Source: Forbes, "Fast Fashion Giant Zara Faces $40 Million Anti-Semitism, Anti-Gay Discrimination Suit," Clare O'Connor, June 3, 2015

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