It went viral while the ultimate example of being punished for circumstances beyond one’s ascendency: a woman who said she was fired from her banking piece of work because she complained that her male colleagues called her curvaceous outline a workplace distraction.
Former Citibank employee Debrahlee Lorenzana has filed a disorder against the company, alleging sex discrimination. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
Then — posterior the tabloid headlines, the TV interviews, the New York Times array of less front than depth — came the disclosure that the buxom banker who said she couldn’t alleviate the way she looked had, in fact, helped it a chance, through a series of cosmetic surgeries she had extolled on substantialness TV.
When Debrahlee Lorenzana asked state human-rights officials on Monday to search out her claims against Citibank — which the bank denies — her story had even now become a crucible teeming with touchy subjects: sexual harassment, women’s workplace cast, society’s obsession with beauty, Americans’ mixed feelings about publicity-seeking. It’s a moral philosophy play for the YouTube era.
But as commentators ranging from authorized analysts to comedians debate whether she’s a novel kind of acuteness victim or a gold digger trying to cash in on the staminate attention she courted, the 33-year-old single mom at the midmost point of it all says she’s unbowed and trying to teach corporate America a lesson.
She followed the bank’s dress code and tried to do her job, she says, and so the sort of if she strove to look — in her own words — like a Playboy prototype?
“There’s nothing wrong with that,” Lorenzana said at a word conference Monday. “One thing has nothing to do with the other.”
Then she went from to work at her new job at another bank, dressed in a gold-colored sleeveless top, a form-fitting ecru skirt and tan stiletto issue-toe pumps.
Lorenzana isn’t the first woman to take authorized action over workplace dress requirements; famous examples include a Nevada lodge bartender who unsuccessfully sued after she was fired for refusing to wear makeup. But many such cases revolve around claims that the woman was pushed to seem more like a sex object — not less, as Lorenzana alleges.
Her claim that she was dressed etc. by bosses who said she was too alluring to wear turtlenecks or portray skirts seized the cultural moment because “it just sounded so arrange of ‘Mad Men’ -esque,” said Brenda Weber, a gender and cultural studies professor at Indiana University, referring to the AMC television succession that often dwells on masculine privilege in a 1960s advertising company.
It’s no surprise the frenzy only intensified after the revelation of Lorenzana’s plastic surgery, Weber said.
In a culture that cherishes ideals of genuineness and meritocracy, “in that place’s this sort of stripping of her authenticity that then, in ~y American context, we really sort of dislike,” she said, but “it doesn’t despicable that we’re not fascinated.”
Lorenzana began working at a Citibank ramification in September 2008, in a job soliciting and opening up modern accounts for businesses, according to her new complaint to the declare Human Rights Division and a lawsuit she filed last fall.
Managers before long began hassling her about her work wear, saying she looked “moreover distracting” for her male colleagues to handle, her lawsuit said. When she peaked out that some co-workers wore more revealing clothes than she, a good economist told her that “your body is very different from them” and that as the others “are short or fat, it’s OK for them to make straight like that,” her human-rights complaint said.
She complained repeatedly to Citibank human wealth officials and was transferred to another branch. After what she calls a deliberate campaign to commemorate her from meeting performance targets — including by giving her an disclosed-of-the-way desk where customers couldn’t find her — she was fired in August, according to her complaints.
Citibank, ~icipation of banking giant Citigroup Inc., says poor performance was the solitary reason for her firing, and that the bank is confident it give by ~ prevail in the legal fights.
“Her current attempts to gain private publicity are as transparent as her legal claims,” Citibank spokeswoman Natalie Riper afore~ in a statement Monday.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, is headed in quest of arbitration. The human-rights complaint will trigger a separate investigation that could in the end lead to a ruling from an administrative judge. The agency declined to remark Monday.
The alternative newspaper The Village Voice first wrote about Lorenzana’s lawsuit on June 1. Soon, fashion editors assessed her work wardrobe. Bloggers decocted the goods of beauty on the beholder and the holder. Newspapers across the land weighed in, some calling the case a flashpoint for debate past workplace sexual harassment.
‘If a woman has breast implants, that veritably doesn’t justify inappropriate comments’—Terry O’Neill
Within days, Lorenzana made the rounds of network morning shows. Times columnist Maureen Dowd examined her case in set fire to of studies on societal responses to people’s attractiveness. A panelist adhering NPR’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! pronounced her case “the most flattering way ever to get fired.”
Then the Daily News disclosed that Lorenzana — who had told the bank-notes, “I can’t help how I look” — had been featured in a 2003 Discovery Channel sequence called Plastic Surgery New York Style as she planned her fourth thorax enlargement, to a size 32-DD.
“I know men have a fantasy of having a Playboy Playmate — that’s that which I want to be,” she said on the show, noting that she in like manner had a tummy tuck and liposuction.
Lorenzana said Monday she was merely trying to restore her curves after breast-feeding, and that the instruct directed her comments. Discovery Channel representatives didn’t immediately return a appointment.
The twist in Lorenzana’s story only sparked more dissection of whether she was establishment up for women’s rights or setting them back.
In any of the most curious debates, National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill faced distant from against actor and radio personality Danny Bonaduce on CNN’s The Joy Behar Show, at the same time that Behar wondered aloud about whether women’s enduring concern for their demeanor marked a failure of feminism.
While Bonaduce lambasted Lorenzana as ~y attention-seeker, O’Neill says the banker shouldn’t have been subjected to the breed of attention Lorenzana says she got.
“If a woman has breast implants, that really doesn’t justify inappropriate comments,” O’Neill declared in an interview Monday.
As for Lorenzana, she said Monday that the scandinavian legend has left her more media-savvy but not sorry: “I slip on’t regret anything in life.”
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