Target: Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli
Goal: Drop lawsuit against Rina Bovrisse, who was demoted for refusing to fire older women, and demand fair treatment for female employees at Prada
Rina Bovrisse is a single mother, graduate of Parsons the New School for Design, and 18-year fashion industry veteran. She is now facing a $780,000 lawsuit from Prada for exposing the design giant in a discrimination case.
Bovrisse was hired in 2009 by Prada Japan as a senior retail operations manager, overseeing over 40 Prada stores in Japan and managing 500 employees. However, she soon began to notice that Prada Japan’s male executives harassed female employees and openly denounced their appearance. Store managers in their 30s were frequently demoted to hire younger managers in their 20s. Prada Japan’s senior human resources manager, Hiroyuki Takahashi, frequently told hiring managers that “Females over 30 without husbands and children are disgusting.” Prada Japan CEO Davide Sesia ordered Bovrisse to fire any employees who were “old, fat, disgusting, or do not have the Prada look.” When Bovrisse refused to do this, she was demoted to an entry-level position and forced to take a huge pay cut.
Bovrisse filed a discrimination lawsuit against Prada. Two years later, Tokyo District Court Presiding Judge Reiko Morioka ruled in favor of Prada, stating that a well-compensated female employee should be able to withstand a certain level of harassment. Worst of all, Prada countersued Bovrisse for the accusation.
At this point it should be noted that Prada’s owner, Miuccia Prada, is a woman in her sixties. She is also a self-proclaimed feminist with a Ph.D. in political science. She has the power to drop this absurd lawsuit, give Bovrisse her job back, and demand fair treatment of women in her company. Urge Miuccia Prada and her husband and co-owner, Patrizio Bertelli, to drop the lawsuit and demand equal treatment for all employees at Prada.
Dear Dr. Prada and Mr. Bertelli,
We are outraged at the treatment of 18-year fashion industry veteran and Rina Bovrisse. She worked for years honing her skills to earn the position of senior retail operations manager for Prada Japan, as did many other female employees who were demoted or fired for being too “old, fat, or disgusting” for their jobs. As Bovrisse’s reward for her hard work and company loyalty, she was forced to fire employees for these unfair reasons, and was demoted when she didn’t. Bovrisse had the courage to (rightfully) sue Prada for discrimination. Worst of all, not only did she lose the suit in Japan because “a well-compensated female employee should be able to withstand a certain level of harassment,” Prada also sued her back for $780,000 for the accusation.
Prada is an industry leader, having sold billions of dollars worth of luxury clothes, perfumes, goods to women all over the world. This means that not only is Prada responsible for the well-being of thousands of employees, it sets an industry standard for conduct. While the discrimination occurred at Prada’s Japanese branch under Prada Japan’s CEO, you as the owners are still responsible for the conduct of your company as a whole. The behavior of Prada Japan’s executives is outrageous and offends not only discrimination laws but basic human decency.
And Dr. Prada, as a woman who has worked for decades to build one of the most successful fashion companies in history, you should be ashamed to stand against other ambitious women who have been treated badly. Please drop the lawsuit against Rina Bovrisse and demand equal treatment of all employees at Prada.
[Your Name Here]