This is the way Debbie Lorenzana tells it: Her bosses told her they couldn’t concentrate on their work because her appearance was too distracting. They ordered her to stop wearing turtlenecks. She was also forbidden to wear pencil skirts, three-inch heels, or fitted business suits. Lorenzana, a 33-year-old single mom, pointed out female colleagues whose clothing was far more revealing than hers: “They said their body shapes were different from mine, and I drew too much attention,” she says.
A WOMAN who worked as a business banking officer in New York Citigroup, has filed a lawsuit against the bank accusing it of firing her for being too attractive.
Debrahlee Lorenzana, a 33-year-old mother, alleged that management had warned her not to dress like her female co-workers because her 'shapeliness' upset her 'easily distracted' male colleagues and supervisors.
The lawsuit was filed in November 2009 but it received new attention after The Village Voice newspaper published an article about the 5-foot-6 (1.68-m), 125-pound (57-kg) Lorenzana.
According to the complaint, soon after beginning work in September 2008 at a Citibank branch in Manhattan's Chrysler building, Lorenzana was advised by supervisors not to wear turtlenecks, pencil skirts and fitted suits because her figure made such attire 'too distracting' for male workers to bear.
Lorenzana said management told her that female co-workers were not similarly told what to wear because their 'general unattractiveness rendered moot their sartorial choices.' Efforts to dress down did not end management's complaints, the single mother told the Voice. 'I could have worn a paper bag, and it would not have mattered,' she said.
After complaining about her treatment, Lorenzana said she was transferred to a Rockefeller Center branch but given a remote desk that made it difficult to sign up customers. Lorenzana was fired in August 2009, for reasons including 'inappropriate' attire and a failure to meet new account quotas, the complaint said. Citigroup rejected Lorenzana's allegations.