A former business lawyer for
Maria DiLorenzo, who was general counsel from 2015 until her dismissal last month, sued J. Crew in Manhattan federal court on Thursday, alleging she was marginalized after being diagnosed with an illness in June 2020 which had made her deaf in one ear. and caused dizziness.
DiLorenzo accused the company of forcing her to work while on medical leave after undergoing cochlear implant surgery and refused her requests for accommodations that would allow her to continue doing her job. When she traveled to New York City in July to attend a board meeting, according to the complaint filed by Wigdor LLP, they isolated her so that she could not hear what was going on and then fired her after complaining about her treatment.
“J. Crew Group is committed to fostering a fair, safe and inclusive workplace,” the company said in a statement. “We believe these allegations are unfounded and we will vigorously defend ourselves. “
In her lawsuit, DiLorenzo rejected what she called “empty market language” by the company, including the CEO
“In fact, J. Crew cares little about the fate of its employees, especially those with disabilities,” said DiLorenzo.
J. Crew secured court approval in August 2020 of a plan that allowed it to continue operating by getting rid of debt and giving control of the business to lenders. The preppy fashion supplier filed for bankruptcy in Virginia in early May 2020, becoming the first major retailer to do so during pandemic-related shutdowns, despite its problems predating Covid-19.
The case is DiLorenzo v J. Crew Group LLC, 21-cv-10768, US District Court, Southern District of New York.
(Updates to respondent’s comment in fourth paragraph.)
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