ZARA USA, Inc. has recently been sued by its former General Counsel, Jack Miller in New York’s Supreme Court. Miller is asserting violations of New York state and city laws prohibiting discrimination, wrongful discharge, retaliation and a hostile work environment.
Miller is asking the court for damages, including lost compensation, back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, liquidated damages, and punitive damages, all amounting to $40 million.
Miller held the post of General Counsel of the American department of the retail giant from January 2008 until March 2015. He helped to build the legal department and handled all the legal matters that ZARA USA, Inc. encountered during his time there, including litigation, real estate transactions and acquisitions.
During his time at ZARA, Miller began to notice a hostile work environment because he didn’t fit in ZARA’s demographic of straight, Spanish and Christian. Miller claims that his supervisors and peers began to send him homophobic emails, make anti-Semitic remarks, and claimed that Spanish employees had greater job security than other employees.
Miller complained to Javier Monteoliva, Inditex Group‘s highest legal officer; however, Miller claims that no steps were taken to rectify the situation. Miller states that on March 2, 2015, Monteoliva then told Miller that his position at ZARA was in jeopardy and that one of Miller’s peers, Dilip Patel, who had engaged in harassing conduct, was very close to ZARA founder, Amancio Ortega, and therefore was unlikely to be reprimanded for his behavior.