The fashion world waits with bated breath as designer John Galliano and Parisian fashion house Dior go head to head in the French labour court.

Mr Galliano was dismissed from Dior in March 2011, in the wake of being convicted for making anti Semitic and racial comments in a Parisian cafe.  Mr Galliano, who has blamed employment related stress and addiction problems for the public outbursts, seeks damages in the sum of an estimated €6 million from former employers Christian Dior Couture SA and John Galliano SA, both owned by the substantial LVMH group.

The case will be heard in the French labour court (Conseil de prud’hommes) – which handles employer/employee related disputes concerning breach of contract, after the Paris Court of Appeals rejected Dior’s challenge in November 2013 to have the case heard in the commercial court. Both Dior and John Galliano SA were each ordered to pay Mr Galliano €2,500.00, plus costs in respect of that application.

Dior had challenged Conseil de prud’hommes jurisdiction, arguing that the complex nature of Mr Galliano’s terms of engagement, meant he should be treated as an independent contractor rather than an employee.

Dior has stood by its decision to dismiss Mr Galliano, with a statement reading:

“The decision to fire Mr. Galliano as a result of these incidents is based on fundamental principles and the rule of law… Christian Dior Couture reaffirms its attachment to the rules of human respect and non-discrimination, which it expects all of its collaborators, without exception, to adhere to strictly.”

In a separate claim, Galliano’s company Cheyenne Freedom, which provided consultancy services to Christian Dior Couture SA, was ordered to pay Dior €1.17million for damage to image and reputation.

At Bargate Murray we have extensive expertise in managing commercial disputes, including those with a cross-border or international element.

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