How One Fashion Worker's Pronunciation of 'Bra' Sparked a Workplace Lawsuit
A New York woman alleges she was fired after she caught her co-workers "maliciously" making fun of her accent when saying words like "sweater" and "bra," according to court documents.
Aleksandra Dumic is suing her former employer for discrimination and unlawful termination, according to a complaint filed Dec. 18 in New York federal court. Dumic, of Serbian origin, claims her assistant and co-workers frequently mocked how she pronounced words like "lunch," "buyer," "arrow" and, especially, "bra."
Dumic began working as senior account executive for Jones Jeanswear in March 2013, the complaint said, where she noticed her co-workers "regularly" laughed at her accent. Dumic intercepted an email between two workers in April 2013 comparing her accent to "the sound of a tiger growling," the complaint alleges.
After mounting symptoms of an anxiety disorder, Dumic requested in February 2014, on her doctor's recommendation, that the company make accommodations for her symptoms.
Some 40 minutes later, she was terminated, the lawsuit said.
"You're not a good fit," Dumic's boss allegedly said. "Even your doctor's note is saying you get stressed from being here[,] which means you're not a good fit."
The company, now called ONE Jeanswear Group, includes brands like Gloria Vanderbilt, l.e.i., Bandolino, Jessica Simpson (under license), and Nine West jeans. Neither the company nor Dumic's attorney immediately responded to CNBC's request for comment.