A former employee is suing Moschino for alleged of racial discrimination.
In the lawsuit, filed in California state court by Shamael Lataillade, it accuses management at the West Hollywood store of using the codeword “Serena” to refer to black customers, in addition to other claims of discrimination.
According to the lawsuit, obtained by The Fashion Law, Lataillade, who worked as a Sales Supervisor since 2015 until she was terminated last spring, claims the codeword was used as a means of conveying to employees they should “closely watch” certain customers.
The term was reportedly used when a black customer “who was not a celebrity and did not have an outward appearance of money via diamonds or name brands” entered the store.
Additionally, Lataillade claims a regional manager took photos of customer license plates on more than one occasion and would not allow customers labelled "Serena" to try on clothing items.
Although it is not explicitly stated, the term is may refer to tennis superstar Serena Williams.
According to the lawsuit, Lataillade claims she was wrongfully terminated on the basis of discrimination a day after she contacted corporate with a complaint about management for the second time - alleging “ongoing and atrocious harassment and discrimination based on her status as a Black, Haitian American woman.”
Lataillade is seeking unspecified monetary damages on the basis of 17 different claims, including “breach of contract, race harassment and discrimination, and gender harassment and discrimination.”
In a statement to The Fashion Law, a spokesperson for Moschino said it “complies with applicable equal employment laws and values and respects all customers and clients regardless of their race or background.”