Labor & Employment
Curvy Banker Says She Was Fired for Being ‘Too Distracting’ in Business Suit and Heels
Posted Jun 2, 2010 7:06 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
In a new chapter of the ongoing, much-debated saga about appropriate attire for female professionals, a former business banking officer at a Citibank branch in New York City contends she was criticized and eventually fired because male co-workers found her curvaceous figure "too distracting" in a standard business suit and classic high heels.
In a court filing, Debrahlee Lorenzana complained to management that she was being treated in a sexist and discriminatory manner and that other women at the bank dressed more provocatively than she did, reports the New York Post.
At that point, "in a regressive response more suitable for reality television than a white-shoe corporation in the 21st century, plaintiff was advised that these other comparator females may wear what they like, as their general unattractiveness rendered moot their sartorial choices," the filing states.
A friend of the 33-year-old Lorenzana who also works as a banker praises the former Citi employee's job performance to the Village Voice and says that Lorenzana is indeed so attractive that she's something of a man magnet.
"I've seen men turn into complete idiots around her," says Tanisha Ritter. "But it's not her fault that they act this way, and it shouldn't be her problem."
Lorenzana's lawsuit against the bank was dismissed because an employment agreement calls for such a case to go into arbitration, where it's now moving forward, the Post reports.
The bank says it doesn't condone discrimination and has done nothing wrong, but can't comment in detail due to employee privacy concerns. In a written statement, it discribes Lorenzana's legal claims as "without merit" and promises a vigorous defense.