In short, an employee returned from maternity leave to face questions about her future reproductive plans from managers who strongly implied that a second child “wouldn’t be good for her job” and all but threatened to make her “redundant” by eliminating her position. She also claims that her higher-ups increased her workload and that a less-than-sympathetic HR rep effectively told her “my hands are tied”. Six months after returning from a second maternity leave, she lost her job.
We don’t have all the details in this case, but the narrative as we know it paints Sisley as a company that views pregnant employees and mothers as liabilities. Perhaps more troubling is the fact that discrimination lawsuits are nothing new for this old-school Parisian brand: In 2011, a black employee who worked for the company’s Saks Fifth Avenue counter filed suit after claiming that her manager repeatedly used racial slurs when addressing her and complained about a lack of “blonde” sales reps. A third employee sued in 2009 after a boss forbid her from sitting down behind the cosmetics counter despite the fact that she’d just gone through a spinal surgery that limited her range of movement. Only the last case has been resolved.