Sacked manager who says Prada called her ugly loses lawsuit

Judge throws out harassment case on grounds woman could not establish claims

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 October, 2012, 2:32am


A Japanese court has dismissed a sexual harassment and unfair dismissal suit against fashion house Prada after management told a woman employee to lose weight and keep in shape.

Rina Bovrisse, 38, who claimed a Prada human resources manager had branded her "ugly", said the ruling by a woman judge at Tokyo District Court was unacceptable and that she would appeal the case.

Bovrisse was demanding Prada pay her 58 million yen (HK$5.62 million) for emotional distress. "This decision … allows sexually harassing comments to be made at the workplace," she said after the case on Friday.

Bovrisse, a Japanese national married to a Frenchman, alleged that Prada Japan had pressured a number of woman employees into resigning by describing them as "aged, ugly, fat, bad body shape, disgusting and not cute".

Bovrisse, who was in Hong Kong last year to protest at the company's listing on the city's stock exchange, said the firm told her through a human resources manager to change her hairstyle, lose weight and ensure she fits the "Prada look".

Prada officials admitted to having asked her to lose weight, telling her that as a senior retail manager overseeing 40 stores in Japan and two in Guam and Saipan, keeping in shape was essential, the Japan Times reported.

But presiding judge Ayako Morioka dismissed the case, saying Bovrisse had failed to establish her claim that the fashion house had called her "ugly".

Rather, the judge said, the firm had the right to dismiss her as she might have damaged the brand's image by telling the media that the company had called her ugly.

Prada has a pending countersuit against Bovrisse, claiming defamation.