It’s been a bit of a rough year for Lorna Jane. First the activewear label was under fire for its receptionist/fit model requirements, and now a former-employee is claiming she became “decrepit and suicidal” because of workplace bullying about her body size.
ABC reports that Amy Robinson, an ex-store manager for the company, is seeking more than $500,000 for the pain and suffering she endured during her six-month stint with Lorna Jane back in 2012, as well as ongoing psychiatric problems.
At a size 14, Amy claims that there was an expectation for staff to look like “gym bunnies”, felt like she was picked on because of her size and was also encouraged to skip meals.
“What I went through, going from being a strong and resilient person to being decrepit and suicidal was really terrifying,” Amy told ABC.
She believes that such psychological damage to herself in turn affected her three children as well. “There is not one area of my life that has not been impacted by this,” she explained. “From family relationships to my children being affected — seeing their mum go in and out of hospital and the anxieties they have today because of it.”
Shine Lawyers’ Kimberley Allen said they would allege that management allowed Amy to be bullied, harassed and demeaned because of her weight, even though there were numerous attempts to have the behaviour addressed.
“Not only did management ignore the bullying and allow Amy’s suffering to be prolonged, we allege that they actively covered it up,” she said.
“[Amy] was placed under an unacceptable amount of pressure and was forced to work long hours with inadequate staffing,” Kimberley continued. “Lorna Jane failed to provide Amy with a safe place of work and she has suffered significant harm as a result.”
Lorna Jane’s public relations manager, Belinda Zordan, told Ragtrader that “Lorna Jane vehemently denies the allegations made by Amy Robinson.”
She said, “As much as we would like to comment further to defend the allegations, as the matter is before the courts, unfortunately we are unable to do so.”
She continued, “Saying that, we can say that in 26 years of business the company has never experienced any such legal claims, despite providing employment for thousands of people. “