VICTORIA Beckham is being sued by a former employee who allegedly suffered a “life-changing injury” while working for the star’s fashion company.
Kristina Kubiliene claims she was forced to work 15-hour shifts, seven days a week without regular breaks or rest.
The pattern cutter said she had to lift huge rolls of fabric weighing up to 35kg and her hands were so sore she had to take painkillers to work.
According to her lawyer, she now has carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes tingling, numbness and pain in your hand and fingers.
Kristina, who worked for the star's firm for eight years at the London studio in Hammersmith, could barely open her handbag because her hands and wrists were in so much pain, her lawyer said.
Last year, she had an operation to relieve her carpal tunnel syndrome but is still unable to work.
She has now hired Slater and Gordon’s industrial disease lawyer Natasha Moyeed to represent her.
The firm this morning confirmed they are taking “serious legal action” against Victoria Beckham Ltd.
Natasha said: “Kristina worked for Victoria Beckham Limited from November 2011 to August 2019 and absolutely loved her job working at the London studio in Hammersmith.
“She was a pattern cutter and very good at this job, but because she was good she was tasked with working for long periods and with heavy fabrics.
Her job involved lifting rolls of fabric, weighing 20 to 35kg, then laying out and pinning the fabric to patterns.
“It was these repetitive, awkward and sustained movements which cause carpal tunnel syndrome to advance rapidly in hands and wrists.
“When I last saw her she could barely open her handbag. She is unable to work and has had to undergo surgery to have any kind movement in her hands.
“Her job involved lifting rolls of fabric, weighing 20 to 35kg, then laying out and pinning the fabric to patterns.
“Once pinned, she would shrink the fabric with an industrial iron, again very heavy.
“This procedure would take 30 to 60 minutes. Next she would cut the fabric, which required significant pressure and accuracy holding with her left hand and cutting with her right.
“This task took up to three hours depending on the garment.
“Normally she worked 10am to 6pm, but twice a year for two weeks she attended New York Fashion Week.
“For a month beforehand her workload increased to up to 15 hours a day, seven days a week, without regular breaks or rest.
“During these times her hands and wrists were so sore she needed painkillers to work.
“Victoria Beckham Limited failed to put measures in place to look after Kristina and prevent this from happening."
Natasha added: “Last year Kristina had an operation to relieve her carpal tunnel syndrome.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
CARPAL tunnel syndrome is a condition which affects the hands and fingers.
There are several options for treatment but it can occasionally resolve itself.
It stems from pressure on the median nerve in your wrist.
This then causes numbness, tingling and sometimes pain in the hands and fingers.
CTS affects women more than men but people of any age can develop it, although it is more common in middle-aged and elderly people.
The NHS outlines the symptoms as:
– An ache or pain in your fingers, hand or arm
– Numb hands
– Tingling or pins and needles
– A weak thumb or difficulty gripping
These symptoms – which also include pain – can come and go, and are usually worse at night.
People with CTS usually report symptoms being more pronounced in the thumb, index and middle finger, although the whole hand can be affected.
An ache can sometimes extend up the arm and into the shoulder.
Sometimes pregnancy can lead to the onset of CTS, and often the symptoms will clear up by themselves in a few months.
CTS can be brought on by a repetitive movement or action, which could be caused by work, depending on what you do for a living.
“She couldn’t work after the surgery she left her role as she was unable to return to work.
“She is still unable to work and has such a weak grip she needs help around the home to do basic tasks.
“It is not known when, if ever, she will be able to return to a similar role, or any kind of employment."
Mrs Beckham, wife of football icon David, came under fire for furloughing 30 of her 120 staff despite her family’s £335million fortune.
This means the taxpayer is forking out for the multi-millionaire’s staff’s salaries.
The 46-year-old has also said she will not take her salary during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mrs Beckham founded her fashion label in 2008 and she now has offices New York, Hong Kong and London – along with her flagship store in upmarket Mayfair.
Her brand is now carried in more than 450 stores in 50 countries worldwide. She won the Best Designer Brand and Brand of the Year at the British Fashion Awards.
Victoria Beckham Ltd has been contacted for comment.
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