Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fired NY banker's suit, and suits, raise eyebrows

from Bilyana Simonski, Resource Development Intern

The following is an article from The Associated Press discussing sexual harassment in the workplace and if it applies to the New York Banker filing a lawsuit against Citibank for allegedly being fired for “looking too distracting for her male colleagues to handle.”

Fired NY banker's suit, and suits, raise eyebrows

(AP)-June 29, 2010

NEW YORK — It went viral as the ultimate example of being punished for circumstances beyond one's control: a woman who said she was fired from her banking job because she complained that her male colleagues called her bodacious figure a workplace distraction.

Then - after the tabloid headlines, the TV interviews, the New York Times column - came the disclosure that the buxom banker who said she couldn't help the way she looked had, in fact, helped it a lot, through a series of cosmetic surgeries she had extolled on reality TV.

When Debrahlee Lorenzana asked state human-rights officials on Monday to investigate her claims against Citibank - which the bank denies - her story had already become a crucible teeming with touchy subjects: sexual harassment, women's workplace fashion, society's obsession with beauty, Americans' mixed feelings about publicity-seeking. It's a morality play for the YouTube era.

But as commentators ranging from legal analysts to comedians debate whether she's a novel form of discrimination victim or a gold digger trying to cash in on male attention she courted, the 33-year-old single mom at the center 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 what if she strove to look - in her own words - like a Playboy model?

"There's nothing wrong with that," Lorenzana said at a news conference Monday. "One thing has nothing to do with the other."

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