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Guess settles 30 million dollar sexual harassment lawsuit

By Rachel Douglass


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Guess storefront. Credits: Guess.

Premium lifestyle retailer Guess has agreed to pay a 30 million dollar settlement over claims of sexual harassment against the brand’s co-founder Paul Marciano.

A payment of 22 million dollars is understood to have been paid out to settle a pension fund’s lawsuit, according to Fortune, which came in regards to allegations that board members for Guess had allowed Marciano to treat the company’s models “as his personal harem”.

In addition to this, Guess is suing its insurers for eight million dollars, as stated in Delaware Chancery Court Filings.

Part of the lawsuit also requires Guess directors to change its corporate governance policies to better address sexual harassment allegations, some of which date back to 2009.

During this year, a model had accused Marciano of sexual assault with the brand’s human resource department and had reportedly been told that it wasn’t the first time such a report had come to light.

While accusations, reports and a prior lawsuit surrounding Marciano had circulated for decades, with as many as nine individuals coming forward, Guess continued to back the businessman, as well as his brother and co-founder Maurice Marciano, after it said it had carried out an investigation into the allegations in 2018 which led it to strongly refute the claims.

The news of the settlement comes after Maurice Marciano stepped down from his position on the company’s board of directors.

Maurice’s time at Guess has also not come without some substantial hiccups, however. Back in February 2022, activist shareholder Legion Partners Asset Management called for the removal of both Maurice and Paul Marciano from the company’s board of directors amid the slew of sexual assault allegations against the latter.

Ultimately, the board made the move to re-elect both Maurice and Paul later in April 2022, calling Legion’s withhold campaign “irresponsible” and a “massive distraction” from its financial performance.

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