Being beautiful is a curse for 33-year-old Debrahlee Lorenzana. It always has been, she says. People attribute her achievements to her looks, so she's worked twice as hard to get ahead. But she can't win. Now she's suing Citibank for firing her for being too sexy.
Citibank certainly is accused of questionable actions — male managers pulling her aside and giving her a list of prohibited clothes (heels, turtlenecks, pencil skirts) and firing her for being late on dates that checked out to be weekends. Lorenzana, though, is not helping the case by insisting she's just too beautiful. In letter she wrote to Citibank's HR department she said this:
Other female employees "were able to wear such clothing because they were short, overweight, and they didn't draw much attention, but since I was five-foot-six, 125 pounds, with a figure, it wasn't 'appropriate'. . . . Are you saying that just because I look this way genetically, that this should be a curse for me."
To prove just how normally she dressed, her lawyer asked her to put some old work clothes on for a photo shoot. Overall, the clothes are harmless, though some push the boundaries of good taste for a bank, but her lawyer never denied she's sexy. In fact, his whole case is built around the argument that a woman should be allowed to be sexy.
And while women should certainly be as sexy as they want, banks are probably second only to high-profile law firms in terms of conservativeness. Citibank's actions aside, should conforming to an employer's dress code (whether explicit or implicit) be part of the job?