Not So Simply Irresistible, Says Iowa Supreme Court

I’ve posted more than my share of stories involving allegations by employees that they were terminated because they were “too sexy” for the job. For example, there was the female banker who sued Citigroup, alleging that she was terminated for being “too sexy for her job.” Then there was the data-entry employee who was terminated from her job in a lingerie warehouse for, she alleged, wearing what her employer considered to be clothing that was “too sexy.” Continue reading

Employment Discrimination and Domestic Violence

Northern Delaware managed to escape Sandy largely unscathed, I feel very lucky to say. Our thoughts are with those who are still without power and, especially, with those whose homes were damaged by the storm. I am grateful to be able to return to work, though. In the spirit of maintaining normalcy, today’s post is not going to focus on hurricanes, floods, or other natural disasters. Just employment law. Stay safe, everyone. Continue reading

Taking the Mystery Out of Bad Hiring Practices

Want some free anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training? Well, have I got a deal for you! Mystery Diners is a reality show on the Food Network. The show’s concept involves a father-daughter team who pretend to be employees and/or customers at a target restaurant in order to help the owner uncover the “leaks in the dam” so to speak.

An episode that aired last week, called, “Managing Disaster,” could be used as a workplace best-practices training video. In short, you could use the video to train employees that any of the conduct by the restaurant’s manager should be considered prohibited conduct in your workplace. Continue reading

I’m Too Sexy For My Job . . . Part Three

Is it unlawful to fire an employee for being too sexy?  Well, it depends.  That’s the claim that a New Jersey woman filed with the EEOC, though, so she and her lawyer must think so.  Lauren Odes, 29, worked in her data-entry job for just one week before she was let go.  She claims that there was no dress code in place and that other employees wore very casual “athletic wear,” which makes sense given the fact that they were working in a warehouse instead of a traditional office environment.  Odes claims, though, that, in the first few days on the job, her supervisors cautioned her that her outfits were too provocative, “her lips and hair, ‘too fresh,'” and her breasts too big. On one occasion, according to the Huffington Post, she was given a bathrobe to wear over her clothes. fireball icons_3

Finally, she alleges that she was told that she was just “too hot” for the workplace.  Gloria Allred has taken up the case.  Odes’ Charge alleges gender- and religious-discrimination claims. Continue reading

Reporter Plus Side Job as a Stripper Equals Gender Discrimination

Reporter Sarah Tressler covered high society and fashion for the Houston Chronicle. She also worked as an exotic dancer on a part-time basis. According to Tressler, she worked as a stripper only “rarely” and did it for the “exercise” since she “didn’t have a gym membership.” So she must have been surprised when her “workouts” got her fired from her day job. Continue reading

Reasons to Terminate: More Is Not Merrier

When terminating an employee, employers need only one reason. Of course, there is rarely just a single reason for reaching the decision. But the existence of multiple reasons does not mandate that each reason be shared with the employee.  In other words, when an employer makes the decision to terminate, there should be only one reason upon which the employer relies and which is shared with the employee-the “final straw.” When an employer changes its “final straw,” it raises doubts both with the employee and with the court and changing reasons are evidence of unlawful discrimination.  Continue reading

Talk About Ego: Former Banker Says She Was Fired for Being Too Sexy

PeacockDebrahlee Lorenzana has sued Citigroup, her former employer, alleging that she was unlawfully terminated because she was “too sexy for her job,” to borrow a line from song by Right Said Fred. According to the New York Daily News, Lorenzana claims that she was subject to “improper comments” and reprimanded for dressing in a way that was “too distracting” to her male coworkers. She denies that she ever dressed inappropriately and complains that she’s always been burdened with good looks–she draws attention from the opposite gender even when she’s at the grocery store in sweatpants.

Oh, brother. Continue reading

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes Flex-Time and a Baby Carriage

The trial in a class-action lawsuit alleging that Novartis Pharmaceuticals practiced sex discrimination against female employees has begun in a federal court in New York. The class of plaintiffs includes more than 5,600 saleswomen, who are seeking $200 million in damages. According to the New York Times, the suit alleges discriminatory pay and promotions targeting women, particularly pregnant ones. Continue reading