(Slate) Too Sexy for My Bosses
Why lawsuits based on looks discrimination—even good ones—are a bad idea.
Debrahlee Lorenzana made news this week with the unusual civil rights claim that her employer, Citigroup, has discriminated against her because she is a hottie. “At five-foot-six and 125 pounds … she is J-Lo curves meet Jessica Simpson rack meets Audrey Hepburn elegance—a head turning beauty,” drools the Village Voice. According to her lawsuit, Lorenzana is so smoking hot that her co-workers couldn’t concentrate on their jobs. Her bosses eventually demanded that she revamp—or, rather, de-vamp—her wardrobe: They banned tight pants, pencil skirts, high heels, and clingy turtlenecks. When Lorenzana pointed out that other women in her office wore more revealing clothes than she did, Lorenzana says her bosses replied, in essence: “Yeah, but they aren’t as hot as you are.” And when Lorenzana came to work, still looking just as jaw-droppingly sexy as ever, Citibank fired her. Believe it or not, Lorenzana is not the first person to claim in court that she’s too sexy for her job. In 2005 librarian Desiree Goodwin sued Harvard University for discrimination, complaining that she was denied promotions because she was “seen merely as a pretty girl who wore sexy outfits, low cut blouses, and tight pants.”