Coco Chanel declared, “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” That is apparently what one Chanel employee did, and it landed her in hot water. Former San Francisco retail employee Mia Komarevic recently sued Chanel in California for discrimination. Her complaint alleges that she faced retaliatory discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination after she reported seeing a Chanel director leave the store one night wearing merchandise without paying for it. The director returned the next day with the product and it was put back in the store to be sold as new merchandise.
As a result of following the company’s policy by reporting the events to her manager, Komarevic alleges that Chanel “responded by ostracizing her, excluding her from training opportunities.” According to the complaint, Chanel, known for their impeccably tailored tweed suits, timeless little black dresses, and the iconic Chanel 2.55 flap bag, attempted to force Komarevic to resign by refusing to grant her a religious accommodation, compelling her to work on Sundays in violation of her Serbian Orthodox beliefs. Komarevic was fired for unspecified “performance reasons.”
Fashion houses and designers face unique challenges exclusive to their industry. Join the Federal Bar Association Feb. 10 for the 4th Annual Fashion Law Seminar. Register today at www.fedbar.org/fashionlaw17. Moderator Katherine Gonzalez-Valentin (Ferraiuoli LLC) will be joined by Mitchell Borger (Macy’s, Inc.), William F. Dahill (Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch LLP), and Philip B. Rosen (Jackson Lewis P.C.) for a cutting-edge panel on employment law issues and best employment practices when representing a fashion company, from retailers to fashion brands. The panel “Working in Fashion: Employment Law Issues Affecting the Fashion Industry” will explore the latest wage and hour legal considerations such as the new rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regarding white-collar exemptions, discrimination cases and guidance (including religious, national origin, transgender), and business policies and practices.
Attendees of the Fashion Law Seminar in New York City will be briefed on several important changes to federal wage and hour laws, as well as employee benefits and executive compensation. Gain valuable knowledge from those who advise companies on international expansion and consolidation as well as the production, distribution, marketing, and sale of their products and services. Learn about collective bargaining agreements, employee handbooks and policies, employee discipline, workplace investigations, harassment, and the drafting of employment agreements (including restrictive covenants and confidentiality agreements).
The Fashion Law Seminar is the ultimate occasion to network and learn from panelists, lawyers, judges, fashion insiders, and business owners about issues facing fashion companies and employees in today’s global, $375 billion fashion marketplace. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind seminar! Sign up at www.fedbar.org/fashionlaw17.
Stacy Slotnick, Esq. holds a J.D., cum laude, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She performs a broad range of duties as an entertainment lawyer, including drafting and negotiating contracts; addressing and litigating trademark, copyright, patent, and other IP issues; and directing the strategy and implementation of public relations, blogging, and social media campaigns.