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PARIS — John Galliano is only marginally closer to resolving the labor case pitting him against his former employers, Christian Dior Couture and John Galliano SA.
This story first appeared in the October 25, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Paris Court of Appeals said it would rule on Nov. 28 on a technical issue that will determine which court will hear the merits of the case at a later date.
At a hearing on Thursday, lawyers for both parties reiterated the arguments they set out in front of the Conseil de prud’hommes, or Labor Relations Court, in February, which prompted that court to rule that it was qualified to consider Galliano’s claims against his former employers.
Dior opposed that decision, sending the case to the Court of Appeals and further delaying what is bound to be a protracted procedure in a cluttered legal jurisdiction.
As reported, Galliano’s lawyer, Chantal Giraud-van Gaver of Coblence & Associés, argued that Galliano was a salaried employee, while Dior maintained that the British fashion maverick was more an independent contractor.
The designer was dismissed in March 2011 after 15 years as the couturier at Dior, following a series of public outbursts during which he uttered racist and anti-Semitic insults in a Paris café. He was also ousted from the fashion house that bears his name.
At his trial on charges of public insult in June 2011, Galliano blamed work-related stress and multiple addictions for his behavior.
On Thursday, the court heard that Galliano earned at least 3.7 million euros, or $5.1 million at current exchange rates, a year plus benefits as the creative director of the Dior and Galliano brands. It is understood he is seeking compensation in the range of 6 million euros, or $8.3 million, for his dismissal.
Giraud-van Gaver said she would argue that Christian Dior Couture failed to meet its obligations under French labor law by not submitting Galliano to a medical test when it established its employment contract with him in 2008, after 12 years of contracting his services through his company, Cheyenne Freedom.
“Galliano was an addict. Everybody knew it and no one did anything about it,” she told the Court of Appeals. “There was no medical visit either at the time he was hired, and no annual or biannual check-ups after that.”
Jean Néret of Jeantet Associés, the lawyer for Christian Dior Couture and John Galliano SA, told the court that Christian Dior Couture agreed in a letter dated Sept. 26, 2008, to grant Galliano an open-ended contract as artistic director of Dior, but that Galliano never signed the proposed contract.