Fired Disabled Woman: Abercrombie a 'Sweatshop'

Brit won nearly $15K for wrongful dismissal
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 16, 2009 3:00 PM CDT
Riam Dean won her suit for wrongful dismissal against Abercrombie & Fitch after she was made to work in the London store's stockroom.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
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(Newser) – The 22-year-old British student with a prosthetic arm who won nearly $15,000 in a discrimination lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch compares its working conditions to a sweatshop. “I found it disturbing,” Riam Dean tells the Daily Mail. “There were so many people in such a tiny space. People were on their hands and knees, or carrying huge piles of clothes. It was hot and sweaty.” But Dean says she consistently refused Abercrombie’s attempts to settle her case because she wanted to teach it a lesson for firing her over her disability.

“People come in different shapes, colors, sizes, and disabilities,” says Dean, who was born without a left forearm. “I hope they realize that beauty lies in diversity rather than perfection, and if they don’t, I’ve still helped a lot of disabled people realize they shouldn’t take what people say to them. I’d rather live with my imperfections than promote their ugliness. It should be ability rather than disability that counts and I wanted to teach them that lesson.”
(Read more Abercrombie & Fitch stories.)