Indian-American executive of Zara sued for discrimination

New York, June 5 (IANS) An Indian-American country manager of the famous Spanish fashion retail brand Zara has been sued by a former employee for discrimination and over $40 million in damages, local media reported.

Ian Jack Miller, a former general counsel of Zara, has filed a discrimination lawsuit in a New York court against the retailer’s US country manager Dilip Patel and its former chief executive officer Moises Costas Rodriguez, claiming he was fired in March because he is “Jewish, American, and gay”, Spanish news agency Efe reported.

Patel is the country manager for Zara USA and works at Zara’s Manhattan office while Rodriguez is a former CEO of Zara USA and the current director of expansion for North and South America.

The lawsuit alleged that Patel had a strong personal connection to the company’s founder and as a “result of this personal connection, he “engaged in discriminatory and harassing conduct with impunity”.

“Miller is seeking damages totalling over $40 million for a hostile work environment, pay discrimination, and discriminatory and retaliatory termination,” said a spokesman for the plaintiff’s law firm.

When Zara USA’s top executives learned that Miller was Jewish, he was shut out of meetings, annual increases to his salary and bonus dropped sharply, and ultimately he was “unceremoniously” fired after seven years of service, the lawsuit further added.

In a statement, Zara USA said the accusations by its former employee were “shocking” and that it would vigorously defend itself in court.

Patel was earlier working with Zara in Britain.

The brand faced similar accusations most recently when last year the company was forced to issue an apology in response to an uproar over a T-shirt it produced that resembled a Nazi concentration camp uniform.

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