Former Gucci Lawyer Sues Company For $5M In Race Discrimination Case

Josephine Robinson, a former tax lawyer for Gucci, is suing the luxury giant for $5 million in a race discrimination case — and her allegations are ugly.

Robinson claims Gucci “subjected her to a hostile work environment” in which she was discriminated against for her “gender/sex, national origin, race, and disability and/or perceived disability, as well as her opposition to discriminatory practices.” A press release describes Robinson as “a dark-skinned West Indian Latina” who suffers from depression.

The NYU Law grad worked at Gucci from March 2008 until she was fired in November 2010. Robinson alleges her boss Stan Sherwood often made racist jokes and comments to and about her, and that she was fired because she reported the harassment. The details Robinson provides are totally horrifying:

Robinson claimed Sherwood often referred to her  “cheap day labor,” called her a “loose woman” and told interns that he picked her off the street.  He also is alleged to have called her a prostitute, according to the suit.

She further alleged that Sherwood complained of receiving unfavorable accommodations at a corporate retreat in Italy, because of her race and frequently referred to her as “black, very very black.”

Robinson also claims that an assistant general counsel for Gucci told her the company “has a high tolerance for racism.” She plans to use emails and taped conversations as evidence. And in an interesting twist, Rihanna‘s name also shows up in the suit. According to Robinson, Sherwood told the lawyer to “tax the hell out of her” and withhold 30% of the fee she was to receive for starring in Gucci’s Tattoo Heart accessory campaign. Why? Robinson, who was working on her contract, says it was because he found out the pop star was from a Caribbean island.

The New York Post reached out to both Rihanna and Gucci for comment. Rihanna’s people remained mum, but a Gucci spokesperson appeared confident in their defense: “Ms. Robinson’s allegations are completely baseless, and the company will defend itself vigorously against this meritless litigation. The company is confident that it will prevail.”

Sounds like this is about to get even uglier.

[PRBuzz & NYP]

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