Eighty-one year old designer Giorgio Armani is facing a $75 million lawsuit, including allegations that he and his company’s executives created a hostile work environment and unlawfully discharged the brand’s head attorney. The complaint, which was filed this week in New York State Supreme, comes from none other than Fabio Silva, the company’s former general counsel. Silva, who worked at the company from October 2014 to July 2015, names the Italian designer himself; Armani’s New York-based retail subsidiary, Presidio International Inc.; chief operating officer Giorgio Fornari; and senior vice president of organizational development and human resources Lucinda Rosso, as defendants in the lawsuit.
According to Silva’s complaint, Armani and the company’s execs retaliated against him after he reported to HR that a colleague made discriminatory comments to him based on his Mexican heritage in December 2014. Silva alleges that instead of taking action to remedy the discrimination he was subjected to, Giorgio Armani execs retaliated against him. Silva specifically notes that COO Giorgio Fornari denied his request for a salary adjustment (on the heels of his meeting with HR) and alleges that it was denied because he complained of discrimination. In a subsequent meeting with Lucinda Rosso, who heads up HR for the brand, Silva alleges that Rosso told him that if he was unhappy, he should leave the company.
And that’s not all. Silva, who spent seven years as Vice President of Legal for Burberry before joining Armani, claims that this past June, he informed the company executives he was preliminarily diagnosed with a malignant tumor, which was confirmed to be colon cancer on July 1st. While Silva claims that he told Rosso that his doctor expected him to make a full recovery, the company fired him the very next day.
Based on the aforementioned allegations, Silva’s lawsuit sets forth four claims, including violation of New York City’s human rights law for creating a hostile work environment; retaliation; unlawful discharge based on national origin; and unlawful discharge based on disability. Silva is seeking a jury trial, as well as back pay, compensatory and punitive damages and attorneys’ fees related costs.