A former NARS Cosmetics makeup artist is suing the company, alleging she was forced to resign after experiencing a backlash for her religious objections to the firm’s requirement that employees be vaccinated against the coronavirus in order to perform in-person services.
Alix Mimran’s Beverly Hills Superior Court lawsuit against NARS parent company Shiseido Americas Corp. alleges wrongful termination, religious discrimination, failure to accommodate, harassment, retaliation and failure to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation. She seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
A Shiseido Americas representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Mimran, 33, was hired as a makeup artist in March 2017 and her job included training, demonstrating and selling makeup as well as representing the NARS makeup brand in stores throughout the West Coast, the suit states.
She was praised for her work and commended for her role in implementing a virtual artistry session team, created as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions for in-person interactions, according to the suit.
However, Mimran was ostracized, harassed and “pushed out” after seeking religious accommodations for the company’s policy in which only those fully vaccinated against the coronavirus could provide in-person services, the suit states.
Immediately after the vaccination policy was announced, Mimran met with her supervisor and asked what would happen if she chose not to get vaccinated due to her religious beliefs, the suit states. Her supervisor allegedly told her it was a “gray area” and that she would have to inquire with human resources.
“In fact, as was discovered nearly a year later, defendant had no procedures in place to address religious accommodation requests whatsoever,” the suit states.
Instead of working with Mimran to accommodate her convictions against getting the vaccination, NARS “further ostracized plaintiff by failing to invite or even notify her of brand or industry events that she, as a senior makeup artist, would typically be … a part of,” the suit states.
Mimran was told that coronavirus testing as an accommodation would not be allowed and even a letter from her rabbi confirming her religious objections proved fruitless, the suit states. Mimran also was denied transfers to states such as Texas and Arizona, which had less strict coronavirus restrictions, the suit states.
The tension caused by NARS’ alleged failure to accommodate caused Mimran’s work performance to decline and she went on medical leave in mid-April for stress and anxiety, according to the suit, which also alleges she was subjected to unfair writeups.
Given the indefinite nature of Mimran’s leave status, her employment was “effectively constructively terminated” and she was forced to resign in late June, the suit states.
Mimran continues to suffer emotional distress and has incurred lost earnings and medical expenses, the suit states.