Ms Atif, a consumer adviser at Dolce & Gabbana’s concession in Harrods, Knightsbridge, was dismissed without having detect for gross misconduct in March 2020 after a disciplinary procedure.
Dolce & Gabbana said she experienced been systematically abusing its illness absence plan, based mostly on a pattern of ill days that had been connected to other absences – for example, following a interval of vacation. The disciplinary investigation had also located that Ms Atif had been taking accurately the quantity of times of sick spend with which she was supplied, and had mentioned to colleagues that she was intending to consider a sick working day in excess of the new yr period just after her request for leave had been refused.
Ms Atif issued a assert in opposition to Dolce & Gabbana for unfair dismissal and race discrimination. Among the her allegations was the suggestion that the brand’s construction was “unprofessional and incompetent”, and supported “the Italian staff purely because of their nationality, so employees who weren’t Italian and who have genuine skills and loyalty were being totally dismissed and rejected for the reason that they were not Italian”.
Ms Atif, who is Algerian and speaks Arabic, claimed that her race was the cause that Dolce & Gabbana experienced checked her illness absence data, commenced a disciplinary investigation in opposition to her and ultimately dismissed her for gross misconduct.
On the other hand, the tribunal did not acknowledge Ms Atif’s allegations. Having looked at Ms Atif’s suspicious sample of illness absence and queries about how a lot of sick times she experienced “left”, the tribunal uncovered that Dolce & Gabbana had acceptable grounds to conclude that Ms Atif was responsible of misconduct. The tribunal also agreed that Dolce & Gabbana’s treatments experienced been sensible.
The tribunal also rejected the argument that race experienced been the reason for Ms Atif’s treatment. Although it mentioned that in this specific circumstance all management and HR personnel were Italian, there was nothing to propose that staff who were not Italian ended up disregarded or dealt with unfavourably. In distinct, it uncovered that the capacity to communicate Arabic was to Ms Atif’s advantage, as numerous of Dolce & Gabbana’s prospects communicate Arabic as a 1st language.
Aron Pope, an work spouse at regulation organization Fox Williams, who has consumers in the vogue marketplace, advised Drapers that “this scenario is unconventional since we do not frequently see very well-recognised vogue brand names these types of as Dolce & Gabbana preventing statements in the tribunal”.
He described: “Employers are normally eager to stay clear of general public hearings mainly because of the possible reputational injury affiliated with staying sued by staff members, specially wherever allegations of discrimination are designed, even if they have performed absolutely nothing unlawful.
“Employers will frequently settle promises fairly than incur the authorized charges and management time desired to appropriately defend on their own, even if this indicates they create a name for paying out off staff who complain. However, Dolce & Gabbana has assisted to display that, by battling this claim, it will defend its reputation versus unfounded allegations, and it has demonstrated that it does not favour its Italian workforce over non-Italian team – an allegation that lots of manner homes deal with.
“I anticipate that this tactic to litigation will discourage other staff from bringing this sort of claims in the potential, in hope of a brief settlement. Preventing this assert should have lengthier-term gains for Dolce & Gabbana.”
Grace Waterhouse, an work affiliate at Fox Williams, extra: “This circumstance is a great case in point of an imperfect but realistic disciplinary process. The tribunal doesn’t demand perfection – it was articles to neglect wherever Dolce & Gabbana could have been timelier in having statements and assessed witnesses extra carefully due to the fact Dolce & Gabbana’s course of action experienced been sensible in general.
“This need to give employers self-assurance that, offered they are diligent and complete with their personnel procedures, they will not be held to an not possible conventional.”
Drapers has contacted Dolce & Gabbana for remark.