Philipp Plein Accused of Workplace Homophobia

Discussion in 'In the News...' started by Benn98, Feb 9, 2021.

  1. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    Philipp Plein Accused of Workplace Homophobia in Discrimination Lawsuit

    Kali Hays
    Mon, February 8, 2021, 11:36 PM·4 min read
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    Philipp Plein is again finding himself in court, this time over allegations that he openly discriminates against gay employees.

    A former Plein regional manager, Amro Alsoleibi, sued the fashion designer and the American arm of his brand in a New York court, claiming he was discriminated against in the workplace and retaliated against, ultimately resulting in his wrongful firing. The lawsuit comes just a few months after Plein lost a high-profile trademark lawsuit with Ferrari, an outcome the German designer attempted to bargain away by proposing a donation to Black Lives Matter causes — if Ferrari would drop its claims. The lawsuit arose after Plein used Ferraris without that company’s permission in one of his typically over-the-top fashion presentations.

    In the new lawsuit, Alsoleibi, who spent just over a year as a regional manager for Plein’s stores in the New York City area, accuses the designer of making repeated homophobic comments to him and allegedly other gay employees, and of canceling his health care and eventually terminating his employment in retaliation for his sexuality, as well as it becoming known that Alsoleibi is HIV-positive. Before working for Plein, Alsoleibi worked for more than a decade in sales and management for a number of luxury brands, including Chloé, Etro, Fendi and Valentino.

    “At the time Mr. Alsoleibi started working for Philipp Plein Americas, Plein was not aware of the fact that plaintiff was gay, or of his HIV-positive status,” the complaint reads. “Very early in Mr. Alsoleibi’s employment, Plein started to be transparent with his distaste for gay men, saying, ‘I hate to work with gays.’”

    A representative for Plein could not be reached for comment.

    Alsoleibi claims Plein made other similar comments in the workplace, and when Alsoleibi allegedly started to point out in mid-2018 that they were offensive, Plein only continued. He allegedly would describe generally things he disliked as being “too gay,” said explicitly about hiring for his stores “don’t hire gays” and on one occasion to Alsoleibi, “stop moving your hips like a gay person.”

    Alsoleibi claims that such negative comments and treatment of gay employees relative to the treatment of heterosexual employees was “pattern and practice, across the entire company.” He named a gay stock clerk who works for the brand in California who said Plein told him “you cannot be too gay” and work for him because the men who shop Philipp Plein “are 100 percent heterosexual.” Another gay sales associate alleged Plein told him “if you are too gay you are unwelcome.”

    “[Plein] frequently affirmed and fostered the macho and toxic masculinity image of his business,” Alsoleibi said in his complaint. “He was very clear that this preference was not just for business branding, but also that all managers and employees must fit a certain stereotype in order to work for him.”

    Around the time Alsoleibi began to openly note the offensive nature of such remarks and make formal complaints, the company allegedly sent him a “warning letter” regarding his performance, which he said was merely to build “pretext” for his eventual firing. He claims that during his management, Plein stores under his region reached $12 million in annual sales.

    His termination came to pass in early 2019, not long after Alsoleibi claims he was refused a request to take time off under New York’s Paid Family Leave Act policy to see his dying father in Syria and the brand suddenly canceled his health insurance, forcing him to disclose his urgent need for medical coverage given his HIV-positive condition. It was reinstated, but this allegedly forced disclosure led the company to “intrusively monitor” his health and use “assumptions of his health” to prevent him from performing the duties for his job, such as regional travel. Then his clothing allowance was taken away without explanation and he was boxed out of dealings and work related to the opening of two brand stores that would have fallen under his regional purview.

    “Alsoleibi was terminated as a direct result of his sexual orientation and HIV-positive status, and was in retaliation for his multiple complaints about defendants’ unlawful employment policies and hostile work environment,” the complaint said.

    He is seeking a number of remedies from the court, including unspecified damages, front and back pay, emotional distress, wrongful termination, hostile work environment, discrimination and harassment. He’s also asked that the court find Plein in violation of New York State Human Rights Law and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    WWD
     
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  2. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    Philipp Plein is basically the avatar of his customer, you know, the 'bro' type you'll see on Instagram, so I don't think these claims are a stretch. Plein could argue against everything else, but to cancel someone's healthcare when they suffer from an incurable disease is on another level of wickedness.

    Also, WWD subtly picked a side by going with that image in light of the claims.
     
  3. YohjiAddict

    YohjiAddict Well-Known Member

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    Awful designer and terrible human being, I don't even know how he managed to keep this a secret for such a long time...I fully believe he uttered those words.

    Seems like any gay male would have a better time joining the army or opus dei, the treatment would probably be less degrading...that poor guy must have needed the money really badly
     
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  4. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    I get mildly annoyed when people continue working under such cruel conditions because strike one and I'm out. My BS threshold is its lowest for the workplace. But I get how the lawsuit will be effective in a greater sense.

    Plein would never get away with such behaviour in the UK or Europe! Like this: '....led the company to “intrusively monitor” his health and use “assumptions of his health” to prevent him from performing the duties. Such a claim would assure instant victory for the employee. It's simply not allowed.
     
  5. THD96

    THD96 Well-Known Member

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    His clothes alone desired it own lawsuit. He probably think that his homophobic acts are just jokes. But he right about his clients tho, I encountered a handful of them in Amsterdam, drunk, loud, littering, fighting with Chanel clients causing the scene. But again this man is like D&G nothing just can't make them go away.
     
  6. nejtak

    nejtak Member

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    Oh! To be honest, I thought Philipp Plein was gay...hope he reads this.

    As if there weren't already enough reasons to strongly dislike this guy. Like THD96, I also think his so called designs deserve their own lawsuit as they can only be considered a crime against humanity.

    It sounds like his former employee can prove mistreatment, so hopefully he will have a strong case because what he accuses Philipp Plein of is awful. Following this!
     
  7. dsamg

    dsamg Well-Known Member

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    I would love to visit the US one day but it definitely seems to me that life is just so difficult there. The working conditions just seem terrible.
     
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  8. GERGIN

    GERGIN Well-Known Member

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    Honestly thought the guy was gay too...Honestly the biggest homophobic thing he's done is become a designer!
     
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  9. Phuel

    Phuel Well-Known Member

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    LOL Don’t be afraid of ‘Murica… Laws and regulations protecting those from discrimination(s) are at their most vigilant now than ever. Most Americans are not like the extreme caricatures as depicted by the news media— even in middle-America. Of course, their are extremists, but that can be true of any country.

    Always just took him for a typical circuit gay— just with money. Superficial looks aside, everything from his tastes to design aesthetic just naturally oozes circuit gay porn. If he really is a homophobe, it’s indicative of just how dumb and utterly lacking in self-awareness he really is to appropriate gay culture but discriminates against it so openly.
     
  10. FelipeV

    FelipeV Active Member

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    He's as gross as his clothes.
     
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