Lingerie Worker Claims She Was Fired For Being 'Too Hot'
You might expect a lingerie warehouse to have a pretty lax dress code for its employees. But a New Jersey woman claims that she was fired for her "too hot" outfits. Her Orthodox Jewish employers didn't appreciate her busty physique and form-fitting clothing, even thought they sold, in her words, "thongs with hearts placed in the female genital area and boy shorts for women that say 'hot' in the buttocks area."
Lauren Odes, 29, did data entry at the Native Intimates warehouse for a week in late April. She says that she asked what the dress code was, and was told just to check out what everyone else was wearing. "So I did," Odes (pictured at left) said at a press conference on Monday. "The dress was very casual athletic wear to business attire."
But within two days, Odes says her supervisors began cautioning her that her outfits were too provocative, her lips and hair "too fresh," and her breasts too big. She was allegedly advised to tape down her chest, and on one occasion was given a "humiliating" bathrobe to wear over her clothes.
Finally she was reportedly told, "You are just too hot for this office."
Now celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, who has battled O.J. Simpson, Arnold Schwarzeneger and Tiger Woods, has taken up her cause. "We should not be judged by the size of our breasts or the shape of our body," Odes was quoted by Reuters as saying.
She's filed a gender and religious discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in New York.
"I understand that there are Orthodox Jewish men who may have their views about how women should dress," Odes said, "... but I do not feel that any employer has the right to impose their religious beliefs on me."
Native Intimates declined a request for comment.
Two years ago, 33-year-old Citibank employee Debrahlee Lorenzana also claimed that she was fired because her outfits were "too distracting" to her male managers. She says that after she complained her supervisors retaliated -- altering her performance targets and then firing her for not meeting them. With the help of Allred, she sued for gender discrimination too.
Whether or not these women are successful in the courts, they should probably be thankful that they were hired in the first place. Some studies have found that attractive women are less likely to get the job.
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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