Against LVMH Group on appointing Sebastian Suhl as COO of Givenchy while the candidate is in the case of sexual harassment and discrimination case in Prada Japan and Prada Luxemburg
LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton S.A.
Mr. Bernard Arnault
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
22, avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris, France
Tel.: + 33 (0) 1 44 13 22 22
Against LVMH Group on appointing Sebastian Suhl as COO of Givenchy
while the candidate is in the case of sexual harassment and discrimination case
in Prada Japan and Prada Luxemburg
Asian Transnational Corporation Monitoring Network (ATNC) is a regional network consisting of civil society groups and labour unions in various Asian countries. Recently it has been reported that your company has appointed Sebastian Suhl as the new Chief Operating Officer of Givenchy, who appears as the key player of sexual harassment and discrimination case in Prada Japan when he was the Chief Operating Officer at Prada SpA. Sebastian Suhl is also involving in the decision making of countersuing the victim for “hurting the brand logo by voicing harassment and discrimination in public” in Prada Luxemburg where the logo is registered.
The case is still proceeding at Tokyo District Court and the case clearly states Sebastian Suhl was the one who ordered the firing of the former Senior Retail Manager after she reported for help to Sebastian Suhl on the sexual harassment and discrimination issues at work and illegal accounting based on forced purchase by store staff at Prada Japan.
As labour rights concern groups advocating labour justice and gender equality, we are shocked and very concerned about your company’s decision to hire a candidate involved in the discrimination and harassment case while you are stating the below as part of your recruiting policy under “Talent Recruitment”.
“The LVMH group considers diversity to be a great asset and commits to deflecting any discrimination linked to age, sex, background, opinion or any other personal characteristics during its recruitment process.”
As reported in the media, the plaintiff of the case Rina Bovrisse and other former Prada employees filed a labour lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court in 2009. Sebastian Suhl appears as the Global COO who ordered Prada Japan on illegal actions taken to the victims. Hitherto, the case is still unresolved and is in legal proceedings.
As a world renowned multinational luxury business group, LVMH should show commitments in corporate social responsibility and ensuring its employees of a discrimination-free working environment and fully respected labour rights protection.
However, to public outrage and disappointment, as a luxury business group which targets women as the major consumers for its Fashion and Leather Goods division, LVMH Group appointed a candidate being alleged of sexual harassment and discrimination practices towards female employees in Japan, especially in the middle of the lawsuit.
It is not the first time that LVMH Group was involved in hiring a candidate with controversial record of discrimination. John Galliano, the former chief designer of Dior under LVMH Group was arrested and found guilty by the French court of anti-Semitic behavior in two complaints in 2011. The former Dior designer was charged in connection with incidents in October, where he was accused of verbally abusing an English language teacher at CafeLa Perlein Paris.
LVMH Group has the responsibility to ensure the fundamental recruiting policy that is internationally recognized labour rights as prescribed by the International Labour Organization (ILO), including the rights to freedom of association and organizing. To consumers, it is very regrettable to see unethical labour practices behind the luxury business.
While the aforementioned labour disputes at Prada Japan have not yet been settled, your company is reported of recruiting Sebastin Suhl who is being the sexual harassment and discrimination case defendant.
Indeed, last year we expressed our deep concern to Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited for Prada’s attempt to file an IPO at the stage when the legal disputes have not yet solved. As a multinational enterprise committed to corporate social responsibility, LVMH Group should proactively adopt measures to eliminate any forms of discrimination and fully observe the laws and regulations regarding labour rights, social justice and equal opportunities in all jurisdictions where you invest and operate, in order to fulfill the expectation of the society, investors and consumers as well.
We, therefore, demand LVMH Group:
- To give a satisfactory response to the public and to Ms. Rina Bovrisse over appointing a new COO suspected of sexual discrimination, harassment and unfair dismissal at Prada Japan;
- To explain whether your company has requirements on your suppliers in observance with the rights of freedom of association and union organizing; and explain the implementation measures and the monitoring polices concerned;
- To explain whether your company has adopted any policies or measures against sexual discrimination and harassment
We sincerely look forward to your written reply. Should there be any enquiries, please contact the coordinator of the ATNC Monitoring Network at email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your kind attention.
Asian Transnational Corporations Monitoring Network
Ms. Chantal Gaemperle,
Group Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Synergies