Versace ex-aide lawsuit charges sex discrimination

Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:41pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The former assistant of a Versace USA executive sued the company on Wednesday for gender discrimination, saying she was forced to relay sexually explicit voicemail messages and was fired when she complained.

Fay Rodriguez, 43 and of Puerto Rican descent, worked for Versace USA's chief executive officer, Patrick Guadagno, from 2007 to 2008, and says she was subjected to a hostile work environment based on her race and gender, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan.

Rodriguez claims she was verbally abused, physically intimidated, publicly humiliated, and denied compensation for working overtime and that she was fired after filing a complaint with Versace human resources, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit names Versace, Rodriguez and the head of human resources and seeks back pay and punitive damages.

"On an ongoing basis ... Guadagno would verbally attack her and publicly humiliate her in the workplace," the lawsuit said.

"Guadagno instructed (Rodriguez) to screen calls and accurately take down messages that were sexual in nature from Guadagno's lovers," the lawsuit said.

Versace was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Michelle Nichols)

<p>A shopper holds a bag from the high-end luxury goods maker Versace as he stands at a crosswalk along 5th Avenue in New York, November 19, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>