Retail chain Forever 21 is facing an NZ$2.9 million ($US2m) lawsuit over claims footage from a hidden camera in a staff bathroom was distributed to pornographic websites.
A former employee is suing the major clothing company for "extreme emotional damages" after a videotape of her using the employee bathroom, which was allegedly captured from a secret camera, was reportedly discovered on "multiple pornographic website platforms".
In order to protect the woman, she was identified only as Jane Doe in a federal New York complaint filed on Tuesday, in which she accused Forever 21 of negligence and invasion of privacy, news.com.au reports.
Doe worked at the clothing store based in Providence, Rhode Island in 2011 while she was attending Providence College and claims she discovered the footage last year after it had been spread across multiple explicit sites.
It is unclear if Forever 21 ever discovered the alleged hidden camera, reported fashion industry publication WWD, with Doe putting liability on the company for "negligently, recklessly and wantonly allowing a person(s), whose identity is unknown to plaintiff, to enter the employee locker room and the employee rest room, located in the store".
In the complaint Doe claims that neither the staff locker room nor the private staff bathroom were fitted with a security system, allowing anyone to enter and install a hidden recording device.
She also stated that Forever 21 did not have a system to "keep a record of non-store employees and/or other unauthorised persons entering into the area designated as the employee locker room of the employee rest room".
According to the complaint, discovering that she was videotaped in the bathroom and had the footage spread online "caused, and will continue to cause, great emotional distress and embarrassment to plaintiff".
Doe claims that the emotional damages this incident has caused should be valued at US$2 million or more.
A Forever 21 spokeswoman told WWD she could not comment on the lawsuit for legal reasons but stated that the company took "the privacy of our team members extremely seriously".
"We have zero tolerance for any type of inappropriate behaviour, and we are committed to making Forever 21 a safe space for all employees, without exception," she said.
"We have been actively investigating this matter, which has involved law enforcement, our legal team, and national investigation teams. We are committed to our employees and will continue to search out those responsible for this heinous act."