Former Prada Japan senior retail manager, Rina Bovrisse, filed a sexual harassment and unfair dismissal lawsuit against the Italian design house's Japanese subsidiary back in 2010, and the court ruled this week in Prada's favor. Bovrisse, now 38, sought 58 million yen (over $700,000) in damages for emotional distress, stemming from her allegations that Prada managers had pressured a number of female employees (including herself) into resigning by describing them as "aged, ugly, fat, disgusting and not cute, and as [having] bad body shapes and bad teeth." [Her words, not mine!]
Bovrisse also claims that a Prada Japan human resources manager told her "to change her hairstyle, lose weight and ensure she fits the "Prada look" and that Prada Japan chief executive Davide Sesia allegedly asked her to fire fifteen employees he deemed unattractive or overweight. While Prada officials admitted to asking asking Bovrisse to lose weight, telling her that as a senior retail manager overseeing 40 stores, her appearance was important, the judge dismissed the suit. Judge Ayako Morioko of a Tokyo District Court held that Bovrisse had failed to sufficiently establish her claim that Prada's managers had called her "ugly." In fact, he held that Prada had the right to dismiss her as she likely damaged the brand's image by telling the media that the company had called her ugly. Prada Japan and Prada SA Luxembourg (the owner of the Prada trademark) filed a countersuit against Bovrisse in the same court for defamation in July. The countersuit is still pending.