Too Pretty for the Workplace?
Studies have shown that pretty people earn five percent more an hour and receive more promotions than their plainer counterparts. Now don’t get mad at me. I didn’t come up with those statistics; I’m just the messenger. But what happens when being beautiful backfires?
Debrahlee Lorenzana, a 33-year-old single mother from New York, recently filed a lawsuit suit against Citigroup, claiming that she was fired for being too good-looking. The banker says her managers gave her a list of clothing that she wasn’t allowed to wear on the job: turtlenecks, pencil skirts, fitted suits and even three-inch heels. “As a result of her tall stature, coupled with her curvaceous figure,” her suit says, Lorenzana was told “she should not wear classic high-heeled business shoes, as this purportedly drew attention to her body in a manner that was upsetting to her easily distracted male managers.”
Although Ms. Lorenzana claims that several of her female coworkers dressed more provocatively than she did, they weren’t reprimanded because, in her words, they were “short, overweight, and they didn’t draw much attention.” Citibank says she was terminated because of poor work performance, but Lorenzana believes the company set unrealistic work goals for her to achieve purely as a way to get rid of her.
I’ve read the comments others have made about the businesswoman, and many seem to think that she didn’t try hard enough to deflect attention from her appearance in the workplace. Is it an attractive woman’s responsibility to tone down her looks on the job and maybe dress more conservatively than she normally would? Should women be penalized, as Ms. Lorenzana maintains she was, because the male employees at the office did double takes whenever she walked by?
I cannot wait to hear what you have to say about this one!