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Video by Nathalie TOURRET

Text by Nathalie TOURRET

Latest update : 2010-05-14

An unusual trial got underway in Japan this Friday: in a case that has stunned the luxury sector, a 36-year-old Japanese woman is suing Italian luxury goods company Prada on the grounds that she was fired because she wasn't attractive enough.

Rina Bovrisse spent just six months working with Prada Japan. Her travails began last autumn, when her employer gave her a warning: 

« On September 29 I was called into a meeting room by the senior human resources manager who warned me that I needed to change my hairstyle, lose weight --- I just didn't have that Prada look », Rina told France 24.
« There was silence for a little while, and then I asked him, don't you think that this is an inappropriate thing for a human resources manager to say?  And he replied saying he had already fired a Miu Miu store manager because she had bad teeth ».
As head of customer relations for Prada and its susbsidiary Miu Miu for Japan, she informed the group's Milan headquarters as to what had happened - in her eyes, discrimination and harassment. A few days later, she was fired. Now, Rina Bovrisse says she wants her job back, financial compensation and an apology from Prada.
At Prada Japan, this is a sensitive issue. France 24’s repeated interview requests received no response from company executives.
Fujii Motoi, a labor law attorney at MTI Associates, explains that this type of case is extremely rare, and that physical appearance cannot be cited as a reason for dismissing an employee. « The company cannot order the employee to lose weight or have a beautiful appearance. Even in the luxury store industry », he says.
The trial could last up to two years. 

Date created : 2010-05-14