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.
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 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
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
Pharmaceutical giant Novartis recently defended a class action lawsuit filed by thousands of its female sales representatives alleging discriminatory treatment in pay and promotions. It was the largest gender discrimination case ever to reach a jury verdict. Continue reading
Debrahlee 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
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
Mikula v. Allegheny County of Pennsylvania is a new decision from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, interpreting the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (“the Act”).
Facts of the Case
Plaintiff Mary Lou Mikula was hired by Allegheny County Police Department as its grants coordinator in 2001. In September 2004, Mikula wrote a memo to the Police Superintendent asking him to change her title to “Grants and Project Manager” and make her salary equal to or greater than that of a male colleague whose title was “Fiscal Manager.” The fiscal manager was making $7,000 a year more than Mikula at that time. The county did not respond to Mikula’s request. In October 2005, Mikula renewed her request for a raise. The county again did not respond. Continue reading