TOKYO, Aug 25, 2010 AFP © - The Japanese unit of Italian fashion house Prada has launched a countersuit claiming defamation against a former employee who is suing the company for alleged sexual harassment and unfair dismissal.
Rina Bovrisse's Facebook fan page
Prada Japan is suing former manager Rina Bovrisse at the Tokyo District Court, which held its first hearing Tuesday, demanding she pay 33 million yen (390,000 dollars) for harming its image, the Japan Times reported Wednesday.
Bovrisse and two of her former colleagues at the Tokyo boutique are suing Prada Japan, alleging she was unfairly fired after being told she was "ugly" and didn't have "the Pradalook" by a top company executive.
Bovrisse wants her dismissal overturned and is seeking damages for emotional distress after the two sides failed to reach an out-of-court settlement at a labour tribunal.
"I'm here to take a stand for Japanese women who have been victims of harassment and discrimination at the workplace," Bovrisse said at a news conference in April.
Bovrisse, a Japanese national married to a Frenchman, alleges that Prada Japan pressured a number of female employees into resigning by describing them as "aged, ugly, fat, bad body shape, bad teeth, disgusting and not cute".
According to Bovrisse, a company executive also told her through a human resources manager to change her hairstyle, lose weight and ensure she fits the "Prada look".
She claims Prada Japan fired her in March after she complained to the company's headquarters about the alleged harassment.