A former employee of a French fashion house who worked at the company’s Beverly Hills store is suing her ex-employer, alleging she was fired for complaining about inappropriate remarks and behavior by management, including showing favoritism to young gay male employees.
The lawsuit filed by Gulmira Isacoff in Los Angeles Superior Court against Lanvin alleges wrongful termination, hostile work environment, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, failure to prevent harassment, discrimination and retaliation and various violations of the state labor code.
Isacoff, 50, is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in the lawsuit filed Friday. A representative for Lanvin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Isacoff was hired in October 2018 as a sales associate at the Rodeo Drive store and quickly became one of the store’s top producers, building relationships with several high net worth customers, according to the lawsuit.
However, trouble began for Isacoff in December 2019 with the hiring of Dean Salkin as the new assistant manager, a man who often lost his temper and yelled at the plaintiff and other female workers, the lawsuit says.
Salkin called Isacoff “lazy” and said she better work at Macy’s, according to the lawsuit.
Believing the comments were sexist, Isacoff complained to store manager Jordyn Wells and the company’s chief commercial officer Paolo Montorio, the lawsuit says. Nothing was changed, however, and Salkin continued his harassment, including making an obscene suggestion to the plaintiff about how she and her husband might celebrate Valentine’s Day 2020, the lawsuit says.
After hearing the inappropriate remark several more times, Isacoff reached his breaking point and told Salkin, “Don’t you understand that you offend me and disrespect me? Please stop. I’m done with you,” according to the costume.
Although the company’s human resources representatives in Paris ultimately fired Salkin, no one apologized to Isacoff or asked if there was anything they could do, the lawsuit says.
In June 2020, Lanvin hired a new store manager, David Leonti, who seemed to be biased against Isacoff from the start and treated her disparagingly whenever they interacted, including saying he was “shocked”. to see a woman as old as she work for Lanvin, the suit declares.
Over time, Isacoff discovered that Leonti had a strong preference for young gay male workers, treating them far better than any of the heterosexual female employees, the lawsuit says. When customers entered the store, Leonti almost always directed them to two gay workers and prevented Isacoff and other women from making a sale.
After another employee complained when a gay employee allegedly assaulted her with a purse, Leonti told the woman her attacker was “walking around” and urged her to calm down, the lawsuit says.
“In contrast, (Isacoff) was immediately suspended and terminated simply because she objected to and complained about Mr. Leonti’s discriminatory practices,” the suit states. “The juxtaposition is both shocking and revealing.”
Lanvin is the third oldest French fashion house still in business.