A seamstress who alleged she was required to work on as many as 17 dresses in a day and subjected to disparate treatment while working at legendary designer Vera Wang’s store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills has reached a settlement in her lawsuit, her attorney told a judge Wednesday.
The announcement was made during a brief hearing before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kevin C. Brazile regarding plaintiff Aida Gharibians’ complaint. Her allegations included age discrimination and harassment, disability discrimination and harassment, wrongful termination, retaliation and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The Glendale woman, now 66, also named as a defendant store manager Fabi Oshaneh. No terms were divulged regarding the case that was filed Feb. 24.
In their court papers, defense attorneys stated that Gharibians had pre-existing physical and psychological injuries, that she did not go through her internal grievance options before suing and that some of her claims belonged in workers’ compensation.
Gharibians was hired in May 2010 as a seamstress and tailor and was regularly given double assignments with stringent deadlines that required her to work beyond eight hours, according to the suit, which further stated that she also trained new seamstresses.
Throughout her employment at the Vera Wang store, Gharibians experienced several minor injuries due to an overwhelming workload, including a dislocated arm and an injured hip, the suit stated. Management, aware of the plaintiff’s injuries, failed to address them while also assigning her work during her vacations, the suit alleged.
In 2014, Gharibians was given 17 dresses to complete in one day compared to the seven assigned to other seamstresses, the suit stated. When Gharibians asked about the discrepancy, she was told, “The customers requested you,” the suit stated.
When Gharibians was injured in a 2014 traffic accident, management told her to delay getting necessary knee surgery because they needed her to keep working, the suit alleged.
Gharibians went on medical leave for several months in 2016 after having heart surgery and she was given a heavy workload when she returned even though doctor imposed specific work restrictions, the suit stated.
The plaintiff alleges management told her that many customers had complained of financial losses while she was on leave, leaving Gharimbians to believe her supervisors wanted her to feel guilty for taking medical time off, the suit stated.
After Oshaneh became a new store manager in September 2017, she often yelled at Gharibians, justifying her behavior by telling the plaintiff that she was supposed to conduct herself that way, the suit stated.
Oshaneh favored younger workers and four older employees resigned because of the manager’s “abusive behavior,” according to the suit, which also stated that Oshaneh often asked Gharibians in 2018, “When do you plan to retire?”
Gharibians went on medical leave for surgery in November 2019 after years of suffering with her injured knee and was scheduled to return in mid- March 2020, the suit stated. But when Gharibians told management that her doctors had extended her time off through April 1, 2020, she was told she was being fired because her position was eliminated, causing her emotional distress that has persisted, the suit stated.
“Ultimately, plaintiff’s employment with Vera Wang was unlawfully terminated without (any) real, substantial (or) compelling reason,” the suit alleged.