Hermès Named in Lawsuit for Allegedly Failing to Pay Commissions

Hermès has been named in a proposed class action lawsuit, with two former New York-based sales associates claiming that the Paris-based brand has failed to adequately compensate them. According to the lawsuit, which was filed this past week in New York state court, former Hermès sales associates, Ewern Chaney and Winifred Hu, allege that Hermès has systematically failed to pay its sales associates all of the commission they are owned and instead, engages in acts of retaliation against those who inquire about how commissions are calculated.

In his suit, Chaney, 28, alleges that he was fired after asking his manager at Hermès’ Madison Avenue location to clarify exactly how commissions are calculated. According to the lawsuit, Charney and other proposed class members were worried they were not being paid the full commissions they were entitled to under the 1.25-percent commission rate that new hires can allegedly expect. In particular, Chaney claims that in the time he spent as a sales associate at Hermès, between November 2012 to March 2014, he generated $3.8  million in revenue but only received $60,000 total in commissions and wages. He was paid a wage of $19 an hour.

In addition to unspecified monetary damages, the named plaintiffs are asking the court to certify their proposed class action lawsuit, thereby allowing other similarly situated parties (read: other sales associates that Hermès employed during the same or similar time periods) to join in the case against the famed fashion house, which is best known for its $10,000 Birkin and Kelly bags.

In connection with the claims, Richard A. Roth, a lawyer representing the two former salespeople, told the New York Post on Friday: “Hermès is saying take what we give you — we’re Hermès and you’re not.”