Posted September 15th, 2015.
Complaint Alleges that Red-carpet Fashion Designer Created Hostile Work Environment, Retaliated Against and Unlawfully Discharged Armani’s General Counsel
September 15, 2015, New York – It’s Fashion Week in New York – even in New York County Supreme Court, where Sanford Heisler Kimpel LLP today filed suit against famed Italian designer Giorgio Armani.
The suit asserts Armani, his corporations and executives discriminated against and fired Fabio Silva, former General Counsel and Vice-President for Legal Affairs at Giorgio Armani Corporation, because Silva was Mexican and diagnosed with cancer.
Silva came to the U.S. as a young child, leveraging support from his family and a strong personal work ethic to complete the University of California and Stanford Law School. Mr. Silva also received a degree from Parsons School of Design in order to prepare himself for a legal career in the fashion industry. Prior to joining Giorgio Armani Corporation as General Counsel in 2014, he was employed at Burberry, Tory Burch and Fab.com.
During his tenure at Giorgio Armani Corporation, the company’s Chief Financial Officer informed General Counsel Silva he did not trust Mexicans, and thereafter subjected Mr. Silva to increased scrutiny and discriminatory treatment. When General Counsel Silva reported this treatment to Chief Operations Officer, Giorgio Fornari, and Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Lucinda Rosso, General Counsel Silva was berated for complaining. General Counsel Silva was then denied a raise for reporting the discrimination.
According to today’s Complaint, Armani responded to Silva’s reports of discrimination and his announcement of a cancer diagnosis by firing him in July 2015, despite General Counsel Silva’s exceptional record of performance as General Counsel at both Giorgio Armani Corporation and Presidio International, Inc.
“The Armani brand is synonymous with high fashion and understated elegance, but there was nothing elevated or subtle about Giorgio Armani Corporation’s treatment of Mr. Silva,” said David Sanford, lead counsel for Silva and founder of Sanford Heisler Kimpel, a leading public interest law firm. “Despite being an extraordinary attorney and well qualified and experienced in the fashion world, Mr. Silva was subjected to retaliation and termination due to his complaining about discrimination in the workplace. Soon after Mr. Silva protested Armani’s treatment to the Chief Operations Officer, and just minutes after Mr. Silva informed defendant Rosso that his cancer diagnosis was confirmed, Rosso terminated his employment. Such treatment is never in style.”
The suit alleges Armani, the two companies and both corporate executives violated New York City’s Human Rights Law with respect to creating a hostile work environment, retaliation, unlawful discharge based on national origin and unlawful discharge based on disability. The suit requests a jury trial and damages — including lost compensation, back pay, front pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages — in excess of $75 million, as well as all legal fees and related costs, and interest.
The suit names the following as defendants: Giorgio Armani; Manhattan-based Giorgio Armani Corporation; Armani’s New York-based retail subsidiary Presidio International, Inc.; Giorgio Fornari, Chief Operations Officer of Giorgio Armani Corporation; and Lucinda Rosso, Senior Vice-President of Organizational Development and Human Resources at Giorgio Armani Corporation.
About Sanford Heisler Kimpel, LLP
Sanford Heisler Kimpel, LLP is a public interest class-action litigation law firm with offices in New York, Washington, DC, and San Francisco. Our attorneys have graduated from the nation’s top law schools, clerked for judges throughout the United States, and amassed extensive experience litigating cases that have earned over one billion dollars for our clients.
The Firm specializes in civil rights and general public interest cases, representing plaintiffs with employment discrimination, labor and wage violations, predatory lending, whistleblower, consumer fraud, and other claims. Along with a focus on class actions, the firm also represents individuals and has achieved particular success in the representation of executives in employment disputes. For more information call 646-791-4848 or [email protected]