The former chief financial officer and chief operating officer of Marc Jacobs International is suing the company, its president Robert Duffy, and parent company LVMH. The suit, filed in New York on Wednesday by Patrice Lataillade alleges that Duffy created a hostile work environment by forcing employees to look at gay porn, making a store employee perform a pole dance, using company money for personal expenses, and producing a book featuring photos of staff in sexual positions.
Marc Jacobs himself is not named in the suit.
Lataillade began working at MJI in 2002 as its CEO and was promoted to COO in 2006. He was fired last September. According to court documents, his compensation at the time was $1 million. In the suit, Lataillade said he was “fired in retaliation for objecting” to a “discriminatory” and “offensive” work environment.
The suit also alleges several other employees have complained about Duffy’s behavior, but with little success. According to The New York Post:
During that time, “there have been sexual harassment cases threatened or brought against defendants based on Duffy’s conduct. Because Duffy (correctly) believed that he would not be punished for his conduct, it grew increasingly worse,” the suit says.
Duffy’s alleged victims also didn’t have much success with their complaints, with the company lawyer telling a young female employee she needed a “thicker skin” and a male employee to “go home early and have a drink,” the suit says.
Lataillade says he complained about Duffy’s behavior on numerous occasions but “nothing was done” and that “less than a week” after his lawyers sent an email to MJI’s ceo and LVMH “summarizing the legal situation and the hostile environment”, he was fired. According to MJI, Lataillade was fired for “cause per his employment contract.”
An LVMH spokesperson told WWD:
“The allegations contained in the complaint are false. Patrice Lataillade was terminated as chief financial officer and chief operating officer of MJI for serious matters unrelated to the allegations contained in the complaint. MJI, LVMH Inc. and Robert Duffy will vigorously defend the case in court.”
Last week, a Marc Jacobs intern posted a series of messages on the company’s Twitter complaining about the job and calling Duffy a “tyrant”.
Former Marc Jacobs Exec Sues Robert Duffy, LVMH [WWWD]
Marc Jacobs’ former no. 2 says president used company as personal piggy bank [NY POST]
Marc Jacobs Intern Has Public Meltdown On Brand’s Twitter Account [Styleite]