The Real Deal New York

Peter Marino sued for alleged sexual harassment — again

Former employee says designer fosters dysfunctional and bigoted culture at firm
By Katherine Clarke | May 26, 2016 04:10PM

Peter Marino

Peter Marino

He’s back in black, and may be back in court.

Leather-loving designer Peter Marino is once again facing a sexual harassment lawsuit from a former employer, who’s accusing him of making homophobic slurs and sexually suggestive comments.

Jonathan Michaud, a former senior textile specialist at Marino’s eponymous design firm, says Marino mocked him for being gay, subjected him to unwanted sexual advances and wore extreme attire at the office which exposed his private regions.

In the suit, filed Thursday in New York State Court, Michaud also accuses Marino of decorating the company’s offices with sexually explicit artwork and even offered to give Michaud a sex toy among other inappropriate comments.

“Marino’s harassment and discrimination against Michaud were typical of a dysfunctional and bigoted culture Marino nurtured from the top of the company that bears his name,” the lawsuit claims.

“We recently were contacted by an attorney for Mr. Michaud, who has been an employee at PMA for approximately five years and remains in the office as of today,” said a Marino spokesperson. “Mr. Michaud had never previously made any complaints about anything whatsoever. Nonetheless, after thoroughly investigating the claims made by his attorney, we found them to be entirely without merit. We are surprised that this frivolous lawsuit was filed, and we will vigorously defend against it.”

When Michaud, who worked at the company starting in 2011, approached other top executives at Marino about the alleged abuse, they dismissed it as “harmless flirting,” according to the suit.

Marino, whose clients include Fendi, Hublot, Chanel and Michael Shvo, was hit with another lawsuit in December by a former office manager at his firm. That employee, Deirdre O’Brien, alleged Marino regularly made sexist and racist comment. That suit is still ongoing.