Kate Hudson's Fashion Line Caught In Rehab Lawsuit

By McCarton Ackerman 10/20/16

A former employee alleges that she was retaliated against for attending rehab to deal with an Ambien addiction.

Kate Hudson's Fashion Line Caught In Rehab Lawsuit

The online retailer co-founded by Kate Hudson is in the middle of an unflattering lawsuit after an ex-employee claimed she was fired for her time in rehab to address a sleeping pill addiction.

TMZ reported that Talitha Peters filed the suit against Fabletics and its parent company JustFab. Peters is seeking damages on the basis that Fabletics discriminated against her disability and engaged in retaliatory tactics based on false information. Although Hudson isn’t personally named in the lawsuit, she may be involved in the case as a co-founder of Fabletics.

Peters, who worked as an executive at Fabletics for two years, claimed in legal documents that work-related issues led to an Ambien addiction. Although she was initially able to obtain medical leave with no questions asked, Fabletics allegedly began to pry for her private medical information when she asked to extend her absence. On the day she was set to return from medical leave this June, Peters claimed that Fabletics fired her for made-up reasons.

A representative for TechStyle Fashion Group, which owns Fabletics and JustFab, denied the allegations and said they will defend themselves in court. The rep added that “we take the welfare of our employees extremely seriously and strive to create a happy and healthy workplace.”

Although Hudson has never struggled with addiction, she admitted to experimenting with drugs. She told Britain’s Night and Day magazine in 2005 that “I think there’s a point in everybody’s life where they experiment because they’re intrigued, but not now. I’m not a drug person. I just never cared [and] I have no interest in hard drugs. I’m totally turned off by that.”

Peters’ lawsuit isn’t uncommon. Many people have claimed they were fired for attending rehab, raising questions about workers' rights and the responsibility of companies to help address employees' substance use problems. Both the Americans with Disability Act and Family Medical Leave Act forbids employers from firing staff members who are obtaining treatment for alcoholism, and employers are required by law in some instances to let employees attend rehab. However, employees can be fired if they consume alcohol on the job, if their drinking interferes with their performance, or if they refuse treatment or relapse.

Pittsburgh native Lucy Dafala filed a lawsuit last year against the Primanti Brothers restaurant chain, claiming she was fired during her rehab stint for alcoholism, despite having no previous disciplinary issues. Other lawsuits haven’t been successful, including an Oregon cop who lost his 2013 discrimination case after being fired for his role in a drunk-driving accident.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.