Napoleon Perdis hit with $100k underpayment, bullying claim
Make-up mogul Napoleon Perdis and his former right-hand man are at logger-heads in the Federal Court amid claims the latter was allegedly underpaid and loaded up with personal errands.
Giovanni (John) Rosiello is suing his former employer for nearly $100,000 in unpaid bonuses and other outstanding contractual payments.
The former general manager of Napoleon Perdis Cosmetics also alleges he was expected to perform an exhaustive range of personal errands outside the scope his job.
In a statement of claim, he said these tasks ranged from organising the funeral for Napoleon Perdis’s father last year to “artificially” boosting the Instagram profile followers and Instagram post “likes” on the accounts of Napoleon Perdis, his four children and his brother Emanuel.
Further, Emanuel Perdis, who is managing director and co-founder of Napoleon Perdis Cosmetics, allegedly sent a text message requesting him to “contact department stores to place orders” when Mr Rosiello was on leave for his father’s funeral.
Mr Rosiello claims he was also directed to cancel a planned family holiday to Italy last September as well as being ordered to return to work from holidays in 2014 to deal with an error caused by the Perdis office in Greece.
In a statement of claim filed with the Federal Court of Australia, Mr Rosiello alleges he was not paid $40,000 in outstanding bonus payments between 2016 and 2018, which he was entitled to under his contract. He is also claiming compensation for a further $59,500 in payments under his contract for opening 17 new Perdis store locations.
After exercising his workplace rights by complaining about issues with his employment, he alleges he was victimised, causing him serious distress and anxiety.
Mr Rosiello claims in his statement that he was expected to organise Napoleon Perdis’s personal affairs including his travel itineraries, Feng Shui “ghost money”, the sale of his vehicles, management of his properties, feedback on mortgage and other legal documents and the preparation of his house when he visited Australia.
Fairfax Media contacted Napoleon Perdis in Greece and he said his lawyers had advised him that he could not comment.
A legal representative for Perdis Cosmetics said its clients including Napoleon and Emanuel Perdis were not able to comment because the matter is currently before the courts.
After the Perdis headquarters in Sydney was flooded in April 2015, it is alleged Mr Rosiello managed the demolition, rebuild and refit.
While addressing the flood damage, he also managed the closure of a Perdis business in America and arranged for the transfer of stock to Australia. He was also required to liaise with real estate agents over the sale of a property in Los Angeles and oversee two office closures.
As general manager, Mr Rosiello was a senior member of the leadership team and his duties included oversight of human resources, legal matters, IT, the Perdis Cosmetics stores and other properties in Australia and the supply chain.
Mr Rosiello is seeking compensation for the alleged bullying and victimisation and payment of the bonus and leave entitlements he alleges he was repeatedly denied.
The statement of claim says that on June 27 this year Napoleon Perdis Cosmetics through its solicitors sought Mr Rosiello’s agreement for his accrued leave entitlements to be paid in six equal monthly instalments on the basis that Napoleon Perdis Cosmetics has “allegedly recently suffered and continues to suffer a serious decline in business”.
Mr Rosiello’s lawyer Mia Pantechis from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers said he was making an adverse action claim and a claim for breach of contract.
“John is claiming he hasn’t been paid his contractual bonuses and his statutory leave entitlements under the Fair Work Act. He is also claiming adverse action by asserting he was victimised when he complained about his poor treatment at work. He is also asserting that the imposition of a workload that went beyond the scope of his job description amounts to bullying and is in breach of his contract,” she said.
Ms Pantechis said Mr Rosiello was a “long-standing and dedicated” employee who was an integral part of the success of the Perdis business in Australia and had been treated “pretty appallingly in return for that loyalty and hard work”.
“Regardless of the public profile of a business, everyone is entitled to a safe workplace free of bullying and other forms of victimisation and they are also entitled to be paid out their contractual and statutory entitlements. There aren’t separate rules for companies because of their status or public profile.”
The statement of claim says Mr Rosiello suffered significant emotional and psychological distress because Napoleon Perdis had allegedly put him down and prevented from doing his duties after his computer rights were revoked on November 15, 2017.
It is alleged that on or about February 1, 2017, Mr Perdis removed core duties from his role without consulting him and that he announced the changes to key managers and staff.
He claims he had not received a pay review in five years and his requests for a salary review were rejected.