For the third time in two years, fashion design house Alexander McQueen is facing racial discrimination allegations, this time from two black employees at one of its New York stores.
The fashion house and its parent company Kering are both named in the suit, filed by employees Christopher Policard and Duane Davis after they complained to a supervisor and received what the suit calls a “perfunctory and superficial investigation.”
The suit further alleges the company “engaged in systematic racism against Kering’s African American employees,” including the systematic rejection of African American applicants who seek to work on the retail floor, “where they can be seen by customers or positions where they might have authority over white employees.” Instead, the “few African American applicants” were relegated to menial positions out of the public eye, according to the plaintiffs.
Furthermore, the suit claims the duo were subject to actions “designed to denigrate, punish and retaliate against them for making their complaint, intimidate them into withdrawing it or force them to leave the company,” rather than correcting the discriminatory actions they had complained of. Some of these actions included being accused of theft, screened for theft in front of other employees and customers, being mocked for bringing up racial discrimination and being made to perform demeaning, menial tasks that other white employees were not made to.
This isn’t the first time McQueen and Kering have faced allegations of racial discrimination. In 2013, security guard Othman Ibela filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), claiming that one of the defendants in the current case – Catherine Flynn – mocked his accent and asked him inflammatory questions about Muslims. That same year, a Hispanic saleswoman also filed a complaint with the EEOC, citing a “persistent barrage of offensive comments based on her race and national origin,” The Muse reported.
“We (Alexander McQueen and Kering) take these allegations very seriously and are investigating, however, we don’t comment on current litigations,” said a representative for Alexander McQueen, according to Fashionista.