The brand might have dressed some of your faves—including Michelle Obama, Salma Hayek, FKA Twigs—but Alexander McQueen’s namesake fashion house is facing charges of discrimination.
Two Black staffers who work at the company’s flagship store in New York City have filed a discrimination lawsuit in Bronx Supreme Court alleging that the company “engaged in systematic racism” against and routinely rejects Black people who apply to work on the sales floor. The suit names the Alexander McQueen brand, parent company Kering Americas Inc., and four managers and supervisors at the Manhattan store.
Christopher Policard and Duane Davis spoke to New York Daily News about the suit:
Policard, an inventory supervisor, and Davis, an inventory clerk, complained about being “falsely accused of theft without evidence” and being “laughed at” for bringing up discrimination to supervisors twice, but were rebuffed, according to the suit.
“I felt oppressed, rattled, and afraid for my future,” Policard, 26, said. “I was surprised that such a prestigious brand would allow ignorance to infect and tarnish the brand image.”
The lawsuit also charges that the only time black employees are seen by customers is when they’re 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,” according to the suit.
The duo also say they were left out of company meetings that were necessary to their work, humiliated in front of coworkers when they were permitted to attend meetings, denied feedback on performance, denied support for things like health benefits information, ignored when they requested extermination services, mocked by White coworkers and more.
According to the suit, Policard filed a written complaint with management in September, but it had no impact on their daily treatment. A second complaint to human resources was ignored.
Policard and Davis are seeking monetary damages for lost wages and professional opportunities, as well as emotional pain and trauma.
The brand was also the subject of a 2013 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint and a lawsuit from a Latina employee who was called “burrito face” and “Goya princess” at another New York City Alexander McQueen store.