Louis-Vuitton-Spring-2010-Ad-Campaign-560x299.jpg

Louis Vuitton has reportedly been slapped with a racial discrimination and harassment lawsuit this week following an incident at the Louis Vuitton Townhouse at Selfridges in London. According to Louis Vuitton sales associate Oliver Koffi, the plaintiff, he was in a stock room packing a pair of shoes for a customer when his manager (who has not been identified by name) began a shocking race-related rant in front of the store’s staff. Koffi alleges that his manger told him that “Black people are slaves who eat dirt off the floor”, a comment Koffi found to be “grossly offensive and extremely humiliating.” The case is slated to be presented to a Central London Employment Tribunal on July 18th.

According to Koffi’s complaint, his manager “went on a rant about black people and other races and religions. He jumped from subject to subject, making comments about other races and religions. He made comments about Barack Obama […] His ­reference to slavery in this day and age with regards to black people is quite frankly revolting.” Mr Koffi, who was a contract worker at the Louis Vuitton Selfridges store at the time, says he recorded the offensive comments on tape after concerns over his manager’s alleged “racist conduct”, which also included frequent remarks about Asian people. Additionally, Koffi claims the manager’s comments about some Louis Vuitton products being “s*** because they were made in China” created a “hostile and intimidating” working environment.

UK’s Mirror publications claims, “Louis Vuitton accepts that the racist comment was made but defends the claim on the basis the company had taken all reasonably practicable steps to prevent the racist comment.” Moreover, in a statement from Louis Vuitton, a spokeswomen for the Paris-based brand claims: “Louis Vuitton has a zero-tolerance policy to harassment of any kind. This reported sentiment is in total violation of the Louis Vuitton Ethical charter. This issue was investigated, and the manager in question no longer works within the company.” More to come …