Debrahlee Lorenzana is filing a lawsuit against Citibank because they fired her, she says, for the strangest reason: she’s too hot.
She’s 5’5”, 125 pounds and well, you’ve seen her photo.
“Where I’m from,” she told the Village Voice, “women dress up—like put on makeup and do their nails—to go to the supermarket… I was raised very Latin. We’re feminine. A woman in Puerto Rico takes care of herself.”
Her bosses told her that “as a result of the shape of her figure, such clothes were purportedly ‘too distracting’ for her male colleagues and supervisors to bear,” she says.
[Her two male] 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.
From the Village Voice:
“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.”
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” Lorenzana told the Voice. “I said, You gotta be kidding me! I was like, Too distracting? For who? For you? My clients don’t seem to have any problem.”
As soon as Debrahlee started working at the Citibank branch in the Chrysler Building, she says, everyone there focused on her appearance.
She’s working together a lawsuit to charge the bank for creating a sexually discriminatory environment with a lawyer, Jack Tuckner, who agrees that she’s smoking hot, but thinks Debarah’s case should stand up well with a jury.
“It’s like saying that we can’t think anymore ’cause our penises are standing up—and we cannot think about you except in a sexual manner—and we can’t look at you without wanting to have sexual intercourse with you. And it’s up to you, gorgeous woman, to lessen your appeal so that we can focus!”
But he also bizarrely told Debarah that she should come to his place (his office) for a photo shoot, because she should have pictures of herself in more conservative clothing to use at her court case … and then (presumably) told her it was OK to take and let the Voice print the rest of the photos they have of her on their site. Check out more pics of her at the Village Voice –>
Here’s the “conservative” shot.
Luckily, she has more evidence than just the conservative photos.
Her case also seems to cite:
- A meeting during which her two managers told her that her pants were too tight.
- An email to HR
- A visit from HR to the Chrysler Building branch
- Photos Debrahlee took of other female employees dressing equally or more provocatively than she
- An email to two Citi VPs
And a lot of verbal evidence from a vivacious Puerto Rican woman.
She’ll tell the jury that when she looked too hot, they told her to dress down. But when she responded by not wearing makeup, they told her she looked “sickly” and when she left her hair curly instead of straightening it, they told her she should go ahead and straighten it every day.
“I could have worn a paper bag, and it would not have mattered,” she told the Voice. “If it wasn’t my shirt, it was my pants. If it wasn’t my pants, it was my shoes. They picked on me every single day.”
Citi can just add this one to the list of sexual-related misconduct lawsuits they have piling up. First there was the blog Fabulis’ claim against them, then Dorly Hazan-Amir’s, which is pretty ridiculous on Citi’s part if true, and that’s just in the past four month. We have an email out to a Citi PR rep and will update when we hear back. here is their response:
“We believe this lawsuit is without merit and we will defend against it vigorously. We respect the privacy of all of our employees and therefore cannot comment more specifically on this litigation, this former employee’s overall performance, or the reasons for her termination- which an arbitration panel must resolve. Citi is committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and providing a respectful environment in the workplace. We have a strong commitment to diversity and we do not condone, or tolerate, discrimination within our business for any reason.”
That’s a strong defence! Debrahlee’s story sounds like a good movie plot line. What would it be called? Add your ideas in the comments.
And check out 15 ridiculously sexual comments men (allegedly) said to women at work >
Check out the full story on the Village Voice.