LOS ANGELES, Calif.–A Black, bisexual woman who worked at fashion designer Tory Burch’s flagship store today sued her former employer, alleging she was discriminated against because of her race and sexual orientation, which she says included being called the “N” word.
Jessica Jones filed her suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Tory Burch LLC and a former co-worker, Ann Oliver. She is seeking unspecified damages.
A representative of Tory Burch did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
According to the suit, Jones was hired as a sales associate in August 2010 and was transferred to the flagship Tory Burch store on South Robertson Boulevard 11 months later. One manager referred to Jones by the “N” word and another as “Ghetto,” the suit states.
One of Jones’ male managers routinely left half-naked photos of himself on a computer accessible to Jones and other sales associates, the suit states.
Oliver allegedly told customers not to work with Jones because she was a “homosexual” and repeatedly referred to Jones’ female partner as “that thing that comes to visit her at work,” the suit states.
Oliver also told co-workers that Jones–who had requested a modified scheduled so she could attend religious services–that the plaintiff “could not be possibly attending church because she is gay,” according to the suit.
The suit also alleges that during lunch breaks Oliver asked Jones if she was going to get fried chicken, according to the suit.
“These events occurred on a monthly basis from July 2011 until July 2012, when (Jones) was forced to resign,” the suit states.
Jones complained to management about her treatment, but nothing was done, the suit states. She alleges that one of her managers was a close friend of Oliver and did not want to do anything to correct the co-worker’s alleged misconduct.
Burch, 46, is an award-winning fashion designer as well as a philanthropist. She has dated Lance Armstrong and has also been romantically linked to Lyor Cohen, a music producer with such hip hop artists as LL Cool J, Nas and Run-D.M.C.