Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2016 – 4:03 PM
(CNS) – A 40-year-old gay Latino is suing British fashion house Jimmy Choo, alleging he endured harassing, discriminatory behavior at the hands of his supervisor while working at the Beverly Hills store and was fired when he complained.
John Ornelas filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the company and his former boss, Nikki Raffasha, on allegations of wrongful termination and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and race. The suit filed April 15 seeks unspecified damages.
A Jimmy Choo corporate representative in New York City could not be immediately reached for comment.
Ornelas says he was hired in 2011 as a sales associate at Jimmy Choo and the next year began working at the Beverly Hills store on Via Rodeo Drive store. After about a month, Raffasha began regularly insulting and mocking him, often using derogatory terms to describe his homosexuality and Hispanic background, the suit alleges.
The plaintiff claims Raffasha went as far as using flippant, derogatory terms after Ornelas’ partner of 12 years died.
Ornelas says he reported the alleged discriminatory and harassing behavior to management multiple times, but nothing was done to improve his situation.
The problems came to a boiling point in October 2014, when Raffasha took away one of his sales and reported it as her own, the suit alleges. After Ornelas confronted the boss, she said, “They will always choose me over some gay Mexican trash like you,” the complaint alleges.
Management credited the sale to Ornelas, but he was fired two days later, according to his court papers.
Jimmy Choo sells high-end shoes, handbags, accessories and fragrances.