Prada Gender Discrimination Case
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Rina Bovrisse, former Senior Retail Operations Manager for Prada Japan, and two other Prada employees filed a lawsuit against their ex-employers in 2010, citing gender discrimination and harassment at Prada. Bovrisse was the first female senior executive to Prada Japan, head of 42 Prada stores and 500 staff and both Prada and Miu Miu Customer Service nationwide Japan, Guam and Saipan. Two years later, a Tokyo District Court judge ruled against Bovrisse, ruling that she had not established that the company had called her ugly and that she may have damaged the brand image by telling the media that the company had done so. Currently, Prada is countersuing Bovrisse for harming their brand and claiming to the media that Prada engaged in harassment. Rina Bovrisse’s Change.org petition gathered over 222,000 signatures worldwide from April–August 2013. A report detailing her case was accepted by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in advance of the CESCR’s 50th Session (April 29-May 17, 2013). On May 17, 2013, CESCR released a report calling on Japan’s state party to introduce new regulations that would make sexual harassment in the workplace illegal.
Rina Bovrisse graduated from Parsons The New School for Design and, during her 18-year fashion career, worked at some of the world’s largest luxury fashion companies including Chanel SA and Prada USA. She worked at offices in New York, London, Hawaii and Paris. On the strength of her resume, Prada Japan hired Bovrisse, a Japanese national, in April 2009 as senior retail manager, responsible for overseeing 500 employees and 42 stores in Japan, Guam, and Saipan. In May 2009, Prada Japan CEO Davide Sesia toured some of Japan’s 40 shops alongside newly hired Bovrisse. After this tour, Sesia told Bovrisse that fifteen shop managers and assistant managers needed to “disappear” because they were ugly, fat, or did not have “the Prada look.” Soon after, Senior Human Resources Manager Hiroyuki Takahashi gave demotion-transfer orders to thirteen of these employees, officially citing their poor sales numbers. Speaking on condition of anonymity to The Japan Times, one of these demoted managers and two assistant managers confirmed that Takahashi delivered the transfers—even though their shops had consistently ranked among the top 10 in sales for Japan. At the end of her three-month probationary period, in July 2009, Rina alerted her immediate supervisors and Prada’s headquarters in Milan, detailing examples of body based gender discrimination, including the sexual harassment of her own assistant. Soon after, she was criticized for her own appearance, offered a demotion to a sales staff position, and ultimately fired.
Legal battle and Court Decision
On December 10, 2009, Bovrisse filed a case in Japanese “complaint court.” She cited discrimination and harassment by her superiors and demanded to be reinstated as senior retail manager. The complaint court declared the case "unsettled" on March 12, 2010, opening the door to a civil lawsuit in open court. Bovrisse filed her civil case on March 19, 2010 and two former Prada managers joined the lawsuit against Prada Japan in August 2010.
On October 26, 2012, two years after the case was first filed, the Tokyo District Court dismissed the case, siding with Prada Japan. Presiding Judge Reiko Morioka stated that the demonstrated level of discrimination was acceptable for the fashion industry and did not warrant compensation for emotional distress. Said Judge Morioka (in a statement now made public), “Sexual harassment and discrimination is confirmed, but legal for the fashion industry.” She added, “If a female employee’s salary is high, the emotional distress of sexual harassment should be endured.”
Countersuit, Change.org Petition, and United Nations
Bovrisse’s case against Prada was featured in media outlets around the world including, The Japan Times, AFP,  Bloomberg], New York Magazine, New York Post, WWD, and Daily Finance, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Le Monde, Corriere della Sera, Buzzfeed, Vogue UK, Jezebel, New York Daily News and CBS Los Angeles.
As a result of this media exposure, on July 2, 2010, Prada countersued Bovrisse, demanding she pay $390,000 for falsely claiming to the media that Prada had engaged in sexual harassment. A later report found that Prada admitted to sexual harassment in court testimony.
Rina Bovrisse’s Change.org petition against Miuccia Prada gathered over 222,000 signatures worldwide from April–August 2013. A report detailing her case was accepted by the Office of the United Nations Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in advance of the CESCR’s 50th Session (April 29-May 17, 2013), and on May 17, 2013, CESCR released a report urging Japan’s state party to introduce regulations that would make sexual harassment in the workplace illegal.
The Huffington Post - Salon (website) reported, "Suicide and sexual harassment: A whistle-blower speaks out" who challenged “pure discrimination" at Prada. Miuccia Prada's policies, Prada responded by purging her from the company, accusing her of mental illness and escalate it until she never came back. "They thought I could be eliminated from society, and they thought I would disappear if they put pressure … And of course Prada was in shock because they thought I was just depressed and that I was staying home — and then the U.N. released a statement … When I see Prada logo or Miu Miu logo, it gives me the chill of discrimination, of being harassed." The U.N. ambassadors for female equal and human rights, Angelina Jolie, Drew Barrymore and Nicole Kidman were named to stop wearing Prada. 
- Odell, Amy (20 April 2010). "Ex-Employee’s Suit Against Prada Japan Gains Momentum". New York Magazine. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
- "Tokyo court dismisses Prada sexual harassment suit". AFP. Oct 27, 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- Fuji, Andrea (6 August 2013). "Ex-Prada Employee Who Accused Fashion House Of Discrimination Fights Nearly $800K Countersuit". CBS Los Angeles. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- "Prada: Drop your lawsuit against former-employee Rina Bovrisse.". Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- Alexander, Ella (28 May 2013). "Prada Vs The UN". Vogue UK. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- Pesek, William (9 September 2010). "Prada Wears Devil in Eyes of This ‘Ugly’ Woman: William Pesek". Bloomberg. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- Watson, Bruce (21 April 2010). "In Japan, the Prada 'Look' Comes with a Side Order of Discrimination". Daily Finance. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- Matsutani, Minoru. "Prada countersues plaintiff claiming harassment". The Japan Times. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- Fuji, Andrea (6 August 2013). "Ex-Prada Employee Who Accused Fashion House Of Discrimination Fights Nearly $800K Countersuit". Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- Alexander, Ella (28 May). "Prada Vs The UN". Vogue UK. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
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