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Two employees of Alexander McQueen's Madison Avenue store are suing the brand and its parent company Kering over claims of systematic discrimination, Fashionista reports. Christopher Policard and Duane Davis claimed in the lawsuit that McQueen employees "engaged in systematic racism" and that the brand "systematically rejects African-American job applicants who seek positions on the sales floor where they can be seen by customers."
Policard and Davis, who are both black, said in the lawsuit they were "falsely accused of theft without evidence" and that black employees were searched "for theft in front of other employees and customers, which is done on the floor during business hours. White employees, on the other hand, are screened for theft after closing and in private."
Luxury Daily reports that when Policard and Davis filed a complaint with Alexander McQueen, they faced retaliation from their supervisors who denied them vacation time and excluded them from meetings.
"It was very uncomfortable," the NY Daily News quotes Davis as saying. "There were times I didn’t want to be at work. I began further not to trust any of my managers from then on." The plantiffs are seeking damages for emotional distress, the coverage of their legal fees, and they also asked that McQueen enact new policies to prevent racial discrimination.
A McQueen representative told Fashionista in a statement: "We (Alexander McQueen and Kering) take these allegations very seriously and are investigating, however, we don't comment on current litigations."
McQueen faced two discrimination lawsuits from US employees in 2013, from a security guard at an NYC store who claimed he was the subject of racially insensitive jokes and from a Hispanic salesperson who said her coworkers called her offensive names like "burrito face" and "goya princess." The NY Daily News reports that one of the managers named in Policard and Davis’ suit was also named in the security guard's suit in 2013.
"It is disturbing that in 2015 that this type of open discrimination continues to happen at the highest levels of the fashion community. Since 2013, the Alexander McQueen and Kering organizations have been on notice of racial discrimination claims but apparently have done very little if anything to fix the problem," attorney Eric Baum told the NY Daily News. "The mistreatment of our clients shows that they have failed in this endeavor."