Former Versace Employee Claims Company Used Code Word For Black Customers

A former employee of Versace has filed a lawsuit against the luxury brand for alleged racial discrimination.

Christopher Sampino, 23, filed a lawsuit in November claiming the managers of a Bay Area Versace store encouraged discriminatory practices among its sales staff. Sampino said that shortly after he was hired, he was trained to use a code word, “D410,” to alert the other staff there was a black customer in somewhere the shop. D410 is Versace’s official code for black-colored clothing.

After learning this information, Sampino said he responded with a question that seemed to shock his manager: “You know that I’m African-American?”

Sampino claims management treated him differently following his comment. The lawsuit reads:

For example, Plaintiff observed that training no longer seemed legitimate after he announced that he is African American. On information and believe, Plaintiff did not receive proper training with regard to rest breaks and did not take rest breaks. Plaintiff further did not receive login information needed to access an online database where employees retrieved print outs of pay stubs.

Though Sampino insists his job performance exceeded expectations, he was terminated less than two weeks after he was hired. Managers reportedly said their decision wasn’t based on his ability to complete tasks; it was because the plaintiff “[doesn’t] understand luxury” and “[doesn’t] know the luxury life.” He said he was also asked to quit to “make the paperwork easier.”

Sampino is seeking an unspecified amount in unpaid wages and damages. According to TMZ, Versace has denied the allegations and has filed a request to dismiss the lawsuit.