A former Neiman Marcus employee who sold fragrances in Beverly Hills settled his unlawful firing lawsuit in which he alleged he was fired because he is Jewish and gay, a courtroom clerk said Thursday.
Attorneys for 59-year-old Amir Peleg and Neiman Marcus informed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Samantha Jessner of the settlement Wednesday. Jessner presided over the jury trial of the case, with testimony starting Sept. 2, her clerk said.
No terms were divulged.
Peleg’s lead attorney, Nicholas Rowley, told jurors his client was subjected to anti-Semitic comments from his boss, Maryam Emamian, who was of Iranian descent.
When Peleg, a son of Holocaust survivors, asked Emamian for vacation time to visit his native Israel, she asked, “Why are you going back to Jewland? All they do is kill people there,” Rowley said during his opening statement.
Rowley said Peleg was entitled to millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages.
But Neiman Marcus attorney Thomas Mackey said Peleg was fired because an investigation showed he and another employee knew that a customer was selling via the Internet fragrances and sample cosmetics from the store.
The samples were supposed to be handouts for high-end customers, Mackey said.
Mackey denied Peleg was treated differently than other employees because of his national origin or sexual orientation. He said the founders of Neiman Marcus were Jewish and Jews have held senior positions in the company ever since, including the current CEO.
“The employees reflect the diversity of the community,” Mackey said.
According to Rowley, Peleg performed his job well and had many loyal customers, but Emamian did not respect him for his abilities.
“He was not part of Maryam’s clique,” Rowley said.
Rowley said Emamian once told Peleg, “This is why Arabs hate Jews, you go behind people’s backs.”
Emamian was herself fired in October 2008, Rowley said.
But Mackey told jurors that Neiman Marcus’s internal investigation revealed Peleg was giving large amounts of the skin moisturizer Creme de la Mer to a single customer. He said the cream sells for $160 an ounce and that each sample weighed quarter-ounce.
According to Mackey, Peleg’s customer was selling the products online and that they targeted customers in China. He said Neiman Marcus also fired the second employee allegedly linked to the Internet sales.
— City News Service
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