Versace staff use a code word to alert each other when black shoppers enter, claims an African-American sales assistant who was fired.
Chris Sampino, 23, claims his manager told him to raise the alarm when a black person entered the San Francisco store by saying D410 – the code for black shirts.
The manager also told him he could ‘hold a black shirt’ when using the code ‘so that they don’t know what you’re talking about’, according to a lawsuit.
When Mr Sampino said he found this offensive due to his African-American heritage, the manager allegedly treated him differently and later fired him saying he doesn’t ‘understand luxury’ or ‘know the luxury life’.
Mr Sampino, who is one quarter African-American, says that after he told his manager about his heritage he did not receive proper training and was fired two weeks later.
He says his manager was taken aback when he told him: ‘You know that I’m African-American?’
He claims he was told to quit to ‘make the paperwork easier’ and that he was not given his final paycheck.
He is now suing for unpaid wages and damages, reports TMZ.
Versace denies the allegations.
The lawsuit, seen by MailOnline, reads: ‘The manager instructed Plaintiff to say D140 in a casual manner when a black person entered the store.
‘Plaintiff observed that training no longer seemed legitimate after he announced that he is African American.
‘On information and believe, Plaintiff did not receive proper training with regard to rest breaks and did not take rest breaks.
‘Plaintiff further did not receive login information needed to access an online database where employees retrieved print outs of pay stubs.’
A Versace spokesman said: ‘Versace believes strongly in equal opportunity, as an employer and a retailer.
‘We do not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, national origin or any other characteristic protected by our civil rights laws.
‘We have denied the allegations in this suit, and we will not comment further concerning pending litigation.’