Perfume ad executive Laura Ziv is suing Firmenich, her employer, for $6 million. The 45-year-old filed the suit Tuesday in the Manhattan Supreme Court, alleging that her boss compared her to Susan Boyle and subjected her to repeated fat shaming.
According to the New York Post, Laura Ziv said that her Firmenich manager Herve Pierini has been bullying her ever since she refused to work with him on a competing perfume’s startup.
She claimed that he responded to the rejection by calling her “Susan Boyle” at a party Ziv gave in 2010 for one of Firmenich’s biggest clients. She also said that he repeatedly called her “fatty.”
For example, when she ate a cupcake at an office party, Pierini allegedly said, “Fatty here is having a cupcake.”
Pierini also removed her from working on Firmenich’s biggest account as well as denying a bonus.
According to NJ.com, the New Jersey resident and mother of two eventually suffered from so much stress that she developed high blood pressure and even a brain hemorrhage. Laura Ziv is currently on a leave of absence from Firmenich.
According to the New York Daily’s News look at the court filing, Ziv eventually became frightened for her life as a result of the ongoing harassment from Peirini. Here’s a key line from Laura Ziv’s Firmenich lawsuit:
“Pierini intended that his degrading, humiliating and vicious and brutal treatment of Ziv would cause Ziv’s blood pressure to rise to a dangerous level and would thus damage Ziv’s health, perhaps to the degree of causing her death.”
Whether name-calling can lead to a stroke is up to a doctor or a jury to decide. But apparently Ziv believed that she was in serious danger, since she took the medical leave in June.
Firmenich has reportedly now canceled her pay and medical benefits, after her lawyers contacted the perfume business about the harassment.
Pierini and Firmenich haven’t yet commented on Laura Ziv’s lawsuit.