LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A nine-year veteran of Abercrombie & Fitch, the clothing giant that caters to thin young people, is suing her former employer, accusing it of firing her because of her age and a pregnancy.
CBS2’s Cristy Fajardo spoke to Stephanie Charles, who says she was let go while on maternity leave.
“It felt like what should have been a blissful time wasn’t,” said Charles.
Charles says the stress of a new baby was compounded by the loss of her job. She had been the Valley stores district manager.
“I was supposed to have anxiety because I was up with a newborn. Now I was up worrying about medical insurance,” Charles said.
In a wrongful-termination lawsuit filed in LA Thursday, Charles alleges the company fired her because at 31 and as a mom, she no longer fit the hip, trendy image the company wants to portray.
She insisted she only had good reviews and was promoted over and over.
In February, when baby Eaton was just 2 months old, she says the company told her it was consolidating and her position had been eliminated.
She says she offered to take a lesser position or move, but in her words, “I was turned down really harshly.”
A person she brought in was promoted to her post. Charles said they weren’t downsizing. They wanted someone younger and more attractive in her job.
She is asking for her job back and damages.
Fajardo was unable to reach Abercrombie & Fitch for comment.
In the past, the company has made no secret of wanting to portray an attractive and youthful image. It even refers often to its sales people as models.
Now, a court may have to decide if Charles’ claims has merit and whether the company ignored the law for that youthful image.
“I’m was the only district manager in the LA region who has children,” Charles said.