, TOKYO, Apr 19 – A former employee of Prada Japan who claims she was harassed by the local unit of the Italian fashion house for being ugly said Monday she had begun legal proceedings for unfair dismissal.
Rina Bovrisse, 36, said she would be joined by two former employees in the suit against Prada Japan in which she alleges she was unfairly fired after being harassed as "ugly" by the company\’s top executive.
Bovrisse will seek to overturn her dismissal in the court case to begin on May 14, her lawyers said, adding that further details of the suit, including a demand for compensation for harassment, had yet to be decided.
The move came after the two sides failed to reach an out-of-court settlement at a labour tribunal last month.
"I\’m here to take a stand for Japanese women who have been victims of harassment and discrimination at the workplace," Bovrisse told a news conference in Tokyo.
"I love this country. I\’m proud to be Japanese… as a hard-working female, but the only issue that I saw in Japan was that the working environment was not (as) safe as overseas.
"I would like to be part of the next step, to create a (safe) environment," she said. "If we face an issue now, it should be solved within our generation."
Bovrisse, a Japanese national married to a Frenchman, alleges that Prada Japan pressured a number of female employees into resigning by describing them as "aged, ugly, fat, bad body shape, bad teeth, disgusting and not cute."
According to Bovrisse, the executive also told her through a human resources manager to change her hairstyle, lose weight and ensure she fits the "Prada look."
"He said… he is ashamed of my ugliness," she told reporters, sobbing.
Prada Japan allegedly fired her last month after she complained to the company\’s headquarters about the harassment.
Immediate comment from Prada Japan was not available. Last month, the company dismissed Bovrisse\’s allegations as groundless.