Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Too Hot to Work?!

I don't know if any of y'all have heard of this story, but it is quite shocking. According to Debrahlee Lorenzana, a 33-year old single mother from NYC, she was fired from her midtown Citigroup branch because she was too hot. The Village Voice reports that (in quoting her lawsuit), "as a result of the shape of her figure, such clothes were were purportedly to distracting for her male colleagues and supervisors to bear."

Lorenzana filed a lawsuit in December of 2009, which seems to be following a trend of sexual harassment suits for major banks. According to the Huffington Post, earlier this year Citigroup and Goldman Sachs both faced lawsuits from working mothers who claimed that they had been "mommy tracked" and were demoted as a result of their pregnancies. Coincidentally, according to Forbes, female employment in finance is falling at a faster rate than male employment.

What shocks me most about Lorenzana's case is what the managers mandated that she wear and not wear:

".... the managers gave her a list of clothing items she would not be allowed to wear: turtlenecks, pencil skirts, and fitted suits. And three-inch heels. "As a result of her tall stature, coupled with her curvaceous figure," her suit says, Lorenzana was told "she should not wear classic high-heeled business shoes, as this purportedly drew attention to her body in a manner that was upsetting to her easily distracted male managers..." (via the Village Voice)

Now, this seems like some pretty blatant sex discrimination to me. Since when is it okay for a woman to be fired from her job because of the clothes she wears, the way her clothes fit on her body, or how beautiful she is? Sure, it seems like a pretty odd scenario for a woman to be fired for being "too hot", but that does not make it okay. What's disturbing is that she was removed from the work environment because she was seen as being too distracting for her male managers and colleagues, which speaks to women being objectified in the workplace.

What are your thoughts on this?

Update: Ms. Lorenzana has hired Gloria Allred, a feminist attorney, to represent her in her suit against Citigroup. Let us hope she wins!

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