This is horrible if true!
A former Versace employee named Christopher Sampino, who worked at a Bay Area store, is suing the Italian brand and accusing it of racial discrimination.
In a lawsuit filed in November and obtained recently by Complex magazine, the plaintiff claims that the store had a special code for black customers. Allegedly, the retailer used the code "D410" to alert employees that a black person had entered the store.
D410 is also Versace's official code for any black-hued clothing.
In the lawsuit, Sampino claims that management began treating him differently after he told them that he was African American. The lawsuit states:
"For example, Plaintiff observed that training no longer seemed legitimate after he announced that he is African American. On information and believe, Plaintiff did not receive proper training with regard to rest breaks and did not take rest breaks. Plaintiff further did not receive login information needed to access an online database where employees retrieved print outs of pay stubs."
Furthermore, Sampino was terminated two weeks after being hired, even though he believes his job performance was exceptional. The decision for terminating the 23-year-old was apparently due to management claiming that he "[doesn't] know the luxury life," and that he "[doesn't] understand luxury."
According to Sampino, he was initially asked to quit in order to "make the paperwork easier."
For its part, Versace issued this statement on Tuesday:
"Versace believes strongly in equal opportunity, as an employer and a retailer. We do not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, national origin or any other characteristic protected by our civil rights laws. We have denied the allegations in this suit, and we will not comment further concerning pending litigation."
The brand has also filed to dismiss the lawsuit.
We'll keep you updated as more information comes to light.
So far it doesn't look too good for Versace though!
[Image via Versace]
Tags: christopher sampino, fashion smashion, legal matters, versace