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Article

29 Feb 2024

Author:
The Guardian

USA: Gucci sued by former employee over "toxic" working conditions, including forcing pregnant workers to have abortions and requiring models to wear straightjackets against their will

"US woman accuses Gucci of age and mental-health discrimination", February 29 2024

A woman who says she sold nearly $50m in products for Gucci is accusing the fashion label of forcing her to work around the clock while enduring discriminatory comments about her age and mental health before she was fired for formally complaining about her working conditions.

In a pending lawsuit filed in federal court in Chicago, Tracy Cohen contends that her experience during a nearly 18-year career at Gucci is only one of several cases which illustrate a toxic work culture at the renowned luxury brand.

Cohen’s suit refers to eight cases alleging that Gucci officials, between 2010 and 2022, maintained sweatshop conditions in China, forced pregnant workers to have abortions, ignored sexual harassment claims, and even required women to wear straitjackets on the modelling runway against their will.

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Neither Gucci nor its corporate owner, Kering, responded to a request for comment on the claims...

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....Cohen said her work required to stay on her mobile devices around the clock. She had to work unpaid overtime and avoided taking time off because she felt her job was in constant jeopardy.

In September 2022, Cohen said she sought help by emailing Gucci president Marco Bizzarri, but he did not reply. She said that left her feeling as if there was no internal support available, and she filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as well as the Illinois human rights department, alleging discrimination over her age, gender and battles with anxiety and depression.

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[Cohen] demands damages, contending that her former bosses violated several laws prohibiting discrimination, retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, abusive labor standards and unfair wages.

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