Prosthetic arm offends their sense of beauty, go figure – updated
Story from New Zealand Herald updated June 30, 2009
The story of Riam Dean, a 22 year old law student has traveled around the world from London, UK to New Zealand and across North America. She was constructively dismissed by Abercrombie and Fitch, the American clothier.
Susan Boyle may be talented but plain: Riam Dean is drop dead gorgeous yet Abercrombie think her prosthetic arm is off-putting.
Discrimination against the disabled has always included a certain amount of social segregation and Dean’s case is a classic irony because of her natural beauty and intelligence. Many less attractive people with disabilities are discriminated against right off the bat.
Dean was hired to work in retail sales at the posh Saville Row store. According to her testimony at the tribunal, she wore a cardigan over the join in her arm as a concession to her employer.
Not good enough for Abercombie. Dean was sent out of sight to work in the stores room. How medieval.
“The cardigan did not adhere to the “looks policy” – a written dress code which stipulates rules on aesthetics such as hairstyle, length of fingernails and forbids facial hair.
Inconspicuous tattoos are acceptable only if “they represent the Abercrombie” look.
Miss Dean told the central London tribunal that she felt “humiliated” and “questioned her worth as a human being” before quitting her job.
She said: “I had been bullied out of my job. It was the lowest point I had ever been in my life.”
She said that she “wasn’t the same person,” adding: “I didn’t want to socialise. If I did go outside the family home I felt so self conscious I would cover up and wear long cardigans despite it being summer.
“I knew I would need another job, but I couldn’t face rejection all over again. I began to assume that my arm would always cause me such trouble. I was always prepared for children to be curious about my disability, but to be faced with adult bullying, no one could have prepared me for such debasement.”
Miss Dean, who was born without her left forearm, is suing the retailer for disability discrimination and is thought to be seeking about £25,000 (NZ$64,000) in compensation for her treatment as what she described as Abercrombie & Fitch’s “oppressive regime”. New Zealand Herald”
The tribunal continues. The company is so unmodern to give itself a black eye this way. It is not the first time the company has face complaints of discrimination.
“In 2004 lawsuit González v. Abercrombie & Fitch, the company was accused of discriminating against ethnic minorities by preferentially offering desirable positions to White American employees. The company agreed to an out-of-court settlement of the class action suit. As part of the settlement terms, Abercrombie and Fitch agreed to pay US$45 million to rejected applicants and affected employees, include more minorities in advertising campaigns, appoint a Vice President of Diversity, hire 25 recruiters to seek minority employees, and discontinue the practice of recruiting employees at primarily white fraternities and sororities.” Wikipedia
As is often the case, you can support Riam Dean on Facebook. Proving that disability is also sexy, there is a site dedicated to the question Wouldja?. With only light voting so far, 82% say Riam is sexy. I’m sure she gets all the attention a girl can handle in that department.
Update - the reference to ownership was changed to American. Wikipedia reference added to previous discrimination lawsuits.