A woman has sued Lululemon for $3 million after she was allegedly raped by her boss in his home. She claims the Vancouver-based retailer knew that Philip Silva was sexually inappropriate with female workers in the past, but allowed him to work in the store anyway.
According to the lawsuit, Silva was transferred to the Lululemon store in Santa Monica in September 2015, about a year after Shayla Famouri began working there as a sales representative. The lawsuit says the company wanted to promote him to key leader, but too many of the female employees at his last store in El Segundo accused him of sexual harassment. Silva was given his promotion when he started working at the Santa Monica location.
Famouri said that she felt pressure to spend time with Silva because he was her supervisor. He asked her to work out with him frequently. After she agreed to do so one one occasion, Silva started to talk about his sex life. On another occasion, he started to kiss Famouri at his house after the two got done with a workout. She protested at first, but allowed him to continue after he said that everybody did it.
On April 22, 2016, Famouri told Silva during dinner that she wasn’t interested in being with him. He didn’t take it well and called her “fat and told her not to eat, called her stupid and told her she would never find a summer internship.”
When Famouri dropped off Silva at his house, he apologized to her and asked her to come in his house. When they walked into his home, Silva started to kiss and touch her. When she tried to get away, Silva allegedly pinned her down on his bed and raped her.
Famouri waited a little while to tell other people about the assault. She eventually talked to a co-worker who advised her to report it to her direct manager.
When Famouri informed her manager about what happened, she was relieved. She said she received several complaints about Silva’s inappropriate behavior with workers, but didn’t believe the events were so serious that they required action.
A couple days later Famouri received a call from the company’s human resources representative who admitted they weren’t prepared to handle her claim and encouraged her to resign.
Lululemon now denies allegations that Famouri was pressured into resigning from the company.
Famouri’s attorney, Adam Zaffos, said the former employee brought the lawsuit against Lululemon because “she really wants to prevent this from happening to other people.”
“They knew about this guy, and they should have done something about it, and they didn’t,” Zaffos said.
The lawsuit demands Lululemon to create better sexual harassment training, have a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual harassment, impose a no-fraternizing rule, develop a way to report sexual harassment complaints and create a system that would prohibit people like Silva to transfer from store to store.