LOS ANGELES (CN) – A woman shopping for “a really nice shirt with French cuffs” to wear at her wedding says an “extremely offensive” Bloomingdale’s salesman refused to serve her, but “stalked away,” saying, “You’re a woman; you shouldn’t wear men’s clothing!” She sued even though store supervisors offered her a free shirt after hearing of the brouhaha.
Rebecca Peterson-Fisher sued Bloomingdale’s, its salesman Alvin English, and Bloomingdale’s corporate parent Macy’s, in Superior Court. She alleges sex discrimination and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Peterson-Fisher says she went shopping at the upscale department store on Santa Monica Boulevard “in a state of happy anticipation,” five days before her wedding, planned for Aug. 29, 2010.
“Plaintiff entered the menswear department, and saw some shirts with French cuffs. She picked one up to look at it and asked salesman Alvin English if they had others. He responded with apparent annoyance, ‘What’s wrong with the one you have?'” the complaint states.
Peterson-Fisher says that when she told English that she was buying the shirt for herself, “She became aware that both his tone of voice and the way he was looking at her was extremely offensive.”
English offered to measure her, though she said she knew the size she was looking for, and he told her “in a rather hostile manner, ‘Trust me it will be easier for you and for me,'” according to the complaint.
“She said that she didn’t need that, but he could go ahead and do it, and extended her arms to be measured. He stared at her, stepped back, and with unconcealed hostility announced that he would not measure her.
“After some further offensive comments, English asked, ‘why are you buying a man’s shirt anyway? You’re a woman.’ When told that was none of his business, he said, ‘You’re a woman; you shouldn’t wear men’s clothing!’ He then turned his back to her and stalked away.”
Peterson-Fisher says she followed English and asked for the name of his supervisor, and “told English that he had violated the law.”
English “responded that his actions could not be considered discriminatory. Plaintiff left the men’s section and walked over to the jewelry counter, where she began to cry,” according to the complaint.
She adds: “Plaintiff has not been able to bring herself to enter Bloomingdale’s again, despite a subsequent offer of a free shirt from its supervisory personnel.”
She says she “has suffered deep and lasting emotional pain, shock, and humiliation, and a pall was cast over her wedding preparations,” because of Bloomingdale’s refusal to provide her with full and equal services “because of her actual or perceived sex or sexual orientation.”
She seeks punitive damages. She is represented by Nancy Kaufman with Printemps & Kaufman of Santa Ana.