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Ex-manager settles discrimination lawsuit against lingerie store

The Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building. (Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN)

BANGOR (BDN) -- A former manager at the Victoria’s Secret in the Bangor Mall has settled her lawsuit against the firm claiming she was fired for not fitting the company’s image that its lingerie is for young and skinny women.

Kelly Merchant, 51, of Bradley sued the company in federal court in Bangor last year. She claimed she was let go in June 2015 because she is a plus-sized woman, then in her late 40s.

She settled it last week for an undisclosed amount, according to her attorney, Brett Baber of Bangor. Confidentiality agreements are standard in discrimination lawsuits against non-public employers.

“The parties reached a settlement that was satisfactory to both sides,” Baber said Friday in an email after the the notification that a settlement had been reached was filed in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

The company’s attorney, Cory Catignani of Columbus, Ohio, did not respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon or Monday morning.

In its answer to the complaint last year, Victoria’s Secret denied Merchant’s allegation and said she was fired for theft. Baber in November denied that allegation, saying she used a coupon for a purchase against company policy.

Merchant alleged she was fired because she did not fit the lingerie

company’s sales model “based on a body image of young, very attractive and slim women, a concept known within [Victoria’s Secret] as [the] ‘brand/company image.'”

Victoria’s Secret does not have a plus-size line on its website. The company does not sell above a size XL — a size 16 — or above a DDD-cup size bra, according to Business Insider.

Merchant’s complaint alleged that Victoria’s Secret violated the Maine Human Rights Act “when it illegally terminated [Merchant] due to her age and non-compliance with [the company’s] impermissible stereotype of what an attractive woman should look like.”

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