11:20am PT by Ashley Cullins
Kate Hudson's Fashion Company Exec Sues for Wrongful Termination
A former vice president for Kate Hudson's activewear company Fabletics says she was wrongfully terminated after taking medical leave to treat an Ambien addiction, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in L.A. County Superior Court.
Talitha Peters is suing Fabletics, along with parent company TechStyle, for a host of claims including disability discrimination, retaliation and invasion of privacy.
Peters says after she was promoted to vice president of creative in July 2014, the job stress took a toll and her doctor prescribed Ambien to help her sleep at night.
By April 2016, Peters says she was medically disabled and required an immediate leave of absence, which was initially estimated to be just under three weeks. After her doctor extended the leave, Peters says she started receiving texts from other executives asking for details about her condition and treatment.
Peters says defendants researched the specialty of her treating physician and assumed she was being treated for addiction-related issues.
"Consequently, Defendants made the decision to terminate Plaintiff because she was seeking rehabilitation treatment, likely concluding that the treatment was for illegal drug use," writes Peters' attorney Ryan Saba. "Defendants' faulty assumption was untrue, but Defendants did not bother to verify the reasons for Plaintiff's medical leave."
After six weeks of leave, Peters was fired at a breakfast on what was supposed to be her first day back.
She's suing for 11 causes of action including disability discrimination, retaliation, failure to accommodate, failure to grant medical leave, wrongful termination and invasion of privacy and is seeking punitive and exemplary damages.
Fabletics' parent company TechStyle sent The Hollywood Reporter a statement Monday afternoon: "We cannot comment in detail as we respect the privacy and confidentiality of our current and former employees. We would like to say that we find these claims to be baseless and meritless, and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves in court. Please know that we take the welfare of our employees extremely seriously and strive to create a happy and healthy workplace. Based solely on feedback from our employees, TechStyle Fashion Group has recently been certified by Great Place to Work® as an exemplary company."
Oct. 17, 3:00 p.m. Updated with a comment from Techstyle.