NEW YORK — The J. Jill Group Inc. and Chico’s FAS Inc. were the subject of class-action lawsuits within the same week.
The J. Jill lawsuit, announced Wednesday, alleged securities law violations, while the one against Chico’s, filed last week, alleged violations of California’s labor law.
The J. Jill lawsuit was filed in a Boston federal court and also names as defendant the company’s president and chief executive, Gordon Cooke, and chief financial officer, Olga Conley.
J. Jill said in a statement that it believes the claims in the lawsuit are “without merit” and that it “intends to vigorously defend itself against the lawsuit.”
The lawsuit against Chico’s, filed in a San Francisco state court, was the latest in a series of lawsuits seeking class-action status against a retailer over “wardrobing,” which is the practice of requiring employees to buy and wear company clothes while on the job. At least three other lawsuits have been filed in California, each one naming a separate defendant: Polo Ralph Lauren, Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch. All four lawsuits, although different defendants, involve the same issue.
Chico’s said in a statement that the company does not require its employees to wear Chico’s clothing and that it will vigorously defend itself against the “baseless allegations.”
A source at one of the retail defendants said the wardrobing issue is unique to California.
This story first appeared in the May 22, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.