Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) has lost its court battle with a law student who claimed the retailer made her work in the stock room instead of on the shop floor because her prosthetic limb did not fit with the clothing chain’s image.
Riam Dean claimed she was taken off the shop floor of the US retailer’s London flagship store because she did not fit with the company’s “Look Policy”.
A central London tribunal awarded Dean £8,000 for unlawful harassment and ruled that A&F failed to comply with employment law.
But the tribunal found that Dean did not suffer disability discrimination.
Dean, who has just finished her final exams at London’s Queen Mary University, was born with her left forearm missing, and told an Employment Tribunal that she was given special permission to wear a cardigan to cover her arm when on the shop floor.
But she told the tribunal she was later removed from the shop floor and made to work in the stockroom because the cardigan did not adhere to the strict dress code.
A&F’s barrister, Akash Nawbatt from Devereux chambers, claimed throughout the trial that Deans’ portrayal of what happened through her employment was inaccurate.
But the judge found that A&F’s handling of the row had failed to comply with employment law and Dean was wrongly dismissed.
She was awarded £136 compensation, £6,800 for hurt feelings and £1,077 for loss of earnings – much less than the £20,000 she originally sought in damages.