Posted November 17, 2018 09:01:08 A woman in a yoga pants suit has lost $6.6 million after claiming she was fired from her job because she wore a “bark” suit.
Lisa Hildebrand filed the lawsuit against her former employer, American Apparel, and her former supervisor, the Australian National Apparel Group, alleging they discriminated against her on the basis of her gender and race.
“The suit alleges that Plaintiff was dismissed because she was wearing a dress-cut, ‘breathable’ dress, and was not wearing a suit,” a statement from the court said.
The suit, which was filed in the Northern Territory Supreme Court in Darwin, alleges the company discriminated against Plaintiff on the grounds of her sex and race because she wears the suit because she wants to be seen in a dress.
The case, which is the first such discrimination claim to be heard in Australia, also names American Apples parent company, New Zealand-based Woolworths, as a defendant.
The court heard American Appliances head of HR, Mark Sutter, apologised to Ms Hildebrands former employer and apologised for any “unwarranted” discrimination.
Ms Hildegard had been working as a customer support manager at American Applierys Canberra office in Canberra’s north from November 2016 to June 2017.
Her first job was as a “customer support representative” at AmericanApparel Canberra headquarters in the CBD.
“This was an opportunity to work on customer service and we were able to achieve a lot with that position,” Ms Hildabrands lawyer, Michael Stirling, said.
“It was a great opportunity for Ms Hille to get involved in the company, and also a great chance to work with other female employees.”
Ms Hilebrands second job was at the American Apprases Canberra office, in the suburb of Pittwater, in March 2017.
She was then promoted to a customer service representative in the Australian Apparel Canberra offices, and she worked there for another two years.
“We were able work on a very similar project with Ms Hili as a female employee, and that project was the same,” Mr Stirling said.
She started to feel the need to go to work in April 2017, after being promoted from customer support representative to supervisor.
“That was a big shift for her,” he said.
Ms Stirling told the court that Ms Hiltberts “barks” suit was “not in the normal way” for a male employee to wear and was “narrow” in colour.
“She wore the suit in the same way as a male would wear it,” Mr Sutter said.
Mr Stirl said Ms Houldbrands “had no complaints, no concerns”.
He said the suit was designed to protect the wearer’s neck from wind or noise.
Mr Suttering said the case was about “trying to protect women’s health and safety”.
“It is important to note that American Applications Canberra had no evidence of an injury to Ms hildebrand,” he added.
Mr Hildabrand is suing for breach of contract and breach of equality under the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) rules.
She has also claimed breach of employment discrimination and unfair dismissal.
“Ms Hilda branched out in the marketplace, which in this case was in the apparel industry, and has not returned to her previous work,” Mr Schilling said.
American Appears management and staff apologised in court documents to Ms Balfour, who is of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, for the incident.
Ms Bafour said the incident was the last straw.
“I am very disappointed,” she said.
Australian Appears has confirmed that Ms Buford is no longer employed at its Canberra office.
A spokesman said it was aware of the case and that it had made a formal offer of employment to Ms Cottam.
A spokeswoman for American Appels Australian headquarters said the company “has a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination of any kind, and strongly condemns any discrimination of women and men”.
“We are committed to helping our female employees succeed, and we continue to support all of our female colleagues, regardless of their backgrounds,” the spokesperson said. ABC/wires