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June 8th, 2010 by Dr. Phil

Too Pretty for the Workplace?

workplaceStudies 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!

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101 Responses to “Too Pretty for the Workplace?”

  1. FosterBoys says:

    “A person can be breathtaking in person and destroy that within the first five minutes by acting in a way that seems superior or behaving in a way that is lewd or provocative,” said Francie Dalton (from the article).

    Pretty is as pretty does and no amount of make-up can fix ugly on the inside.

    As for the picture you chose to accompany this piece — Is SHE too pretty for the workplace or does her face not really factor into the equation?

  2. Ashley says:

    The first question that pops in my head is, if they were just looking for a way to get rid of her, why would they have hired her to begin with?

    If they really did give her a list of things she cannot wear but other can, simply because it would supposedly draw unwanted male attention, then that is beyond ridiculous, unfair, and extremely sexist. I feel it’s very unfortunate that women aren’t socially accepted to wear certain clothing because it is seen as “provoking” by men. And I say that as one who dresses modestly.

  3. JACKIE RAYMOND says:

    HOW OBVIOUS THIS WOMAN IS. SHE OPENLY ADMITS THAT SHE HAS HAD SEVERAL BREAST ENLARGEMENT OPERATIONS AND LOVES THE ATTENTION HER BODY ATTRACTS. SHE EVEN WORE A REVEALING OUTFIT FOR TV INTERVIEWS. HER NIPPLES WERE CLEARLY OBVIOUS THROUGH A SKIN HUGGING BEIGE TOP THAT SHE WAS WEARING. ENOUGH OF HER. BANKS AND OTHER PUBLIC SERVING INSTITUTIONS HAVE THE RIGHT TO HAVE A DRESS CODE AND IF SHE WON’T COMPLY SHE’LL HAVE TO GO ELSEWHERE FOR A JOB. THAT’S ALL. THANKS DR. PHIL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPRESS MY OPINION.

  4. Robin Johnson says:

    I do not appreciate women in the office dressing provocatively because I have a husband
    that works in an office. I think that this kid of thing can lead to affairs also. I know when I do bussiness somewhere I do not want to see some woman’s boobs. I really like what Ellen DeGeneres said..”don’t show the world your boobs, show them your brain”

  5. As usual there is the “she said”, “he said” and the truth is somewhere in the middle of this situation.

    BUT…..to bottom line this: Ms. Loranzana seems to be in need of attention and she finds various ways to get it. In the work place, she dressed in a manner that gave her the male attention she seems to need….the female attention that automatically follows (negative though it probably became) and is still seeking it by portraying herself “the victim” in the situation.

    The work place DID suffer from the hullabalu that ensued, which did make her guilty of poor performance there. The job site is a place of BUSINESS not a playground for needy employees. This problem won’t stop with this employee. The gawking men who couldn’t keep their minds on their jobs and the jealous women, who were sure to have been involved in the undercurrents created by all this, are still there.

    It would be nice to have a working environment free of these games, with employees who dressed nicely and professionally, who did their job in the same manner. Human foibles and office politics ruined this environment in this case.

    Ms. Loranzana’s unethical behavior was evident in using her physical attributes to fulfill a personal need of some kind. She is blowing smoke. The other employees are blowing smoke. It is a farce.

  6. penny miller says:

    i didnot even cont. to read this mess. the pain fact is this; just go to work to do your job. if iwas your employer my concern would be that you did your job to the fulliest, treat fellow co-workers with respect all the way around throu your mouth, dress and actions and too i don,t care if you male,female or the pink pokadot people eatter everyone should get a fair,s day pay for a fair day work

  7. Oh boy….I watched her on the Today show this week and thought she was a) well-spoken, b) gorgeous and c)……(preparing for retaliating responses) probably right! As a blonde version of her, I have personally experienced much of what she described and I hate to say it – but lots of people- especially women, “hate on the pretty.” Fact. I was sexually harrassed when in a management role for a very large corporation – by a VERY senior excecutive – I turned him in largely because….what if he’d done it to women in much lesser positions than me, forgetting even the aspects of their looks?
    Same company, I was called to HR because in July, in Atlanta, I had taken my suit jacket off bc AC wasn’t working right that day and was in my office and apparently someone told our in-house HR mgr (HQ in the US is in Chicago but a large office is in Atlanta) that I was inappropriately dressed. No clients were around, my door was ajar, I got “turned in” for being what….29, blonde, pretty and wearing a shirt that technically met dress code but I looked “too good” in? BS.
    If she’s being truthful – I hope she wins, bottom line.

  8. Dr. Phil,

    Should businesses who hire a number of employees also provide guidelines and/or dress requirements for employees? Plus counseling or mentoring to employees who need emotional support for such situations? A caring person in management who tries to keep the employees minds on their work and performance, for instance?

    It seems like there are always protagonists, drama and trouble-makers who nestle into work environments and keep things stirred up. Just what is the solution?

  9. audrey says:

    I am/was an attractive insurance claims person, working in an office is tricky. Dressing sexy makes a person feel sexy which is good. But dressing sexy at work, in a business setting, is looking for trouble. Its a free country, we can dress how we want, but there are repercussions. And are the men allowed to show their cleavage and wear tight pants outlining their “ahem”? No, that would be considered crude. By dressing inappropriately she is calling unwanted attention to herself from both men and women, and making herself appear less capable of her job, even if it’s not true. I love you dr phil!!

  10. Blgspc says:

    ‘I’M TOO SEXY FOR MY SHIRT’??? Wasn’t that a song in the 1990’s?

    Well, that’s something I can say that I NEVER struggled with, period. The only way I ever distracted any male co-workers was when I accidentally tripped and fell on them!

    However, there’s been all this talk about how those MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of sub prime loans and the Housing Bubble just dragged those banks down and NOW here we have NEW information that NOT ONE SINGLE REPORTER HAS INVESTIGATED- whether or not the curvaceous women in those banks wore turtlenecks, fitted business suits or three-inch pumps! WOW, somebody’s asleep at the News Desk, for sure! Those poor male bank managers….can’t work because someone’s wearing knit…so sad.
    I mean you got MBA’s walking into water fountains, here and unable to work because of shoes! Have Mercy!

  11. Lynn says:

    I agree with that a woman needs to dress the right way while at the work place.. There is a time & place where we are to look like we are going out & then at the work place dress for that JOB.. There are to many woman who do not care.. It does not matter weather your short or fat or tall. If your working around a lot of men Yes they are going to look.. It is a man’s nature to do it.. I am married to a wounderful man my self & I know that he does look.. Women need to have more respect for them self’s & others.. Alot of women will dress a secertent way just to get attion.. This is wrong.. When she dresses like that she will have men try to touch her & then she will say to them if u do that again I will report u.. Well if she dressed like she should men would not have to be tempted.. I my self will dress up but only for my husband & we both are together or I will some times meet him for lunch. But in the work place they need to respect them self’s. This is a way for a Marriage to be broken up.. If your asked to dress a serten way at work then do so.. It is not that hard. God Bless!!

  12. Erin says:

    I read the story, and I do not think her appearances had anything to do with why she was fired. I think her attitude and her work ethic was the reason she was fired. Just in the language she uses to describe herself and her co-workers makes me believe she was fired due to her attitude and work ethic. I think business have a right to decide what is appropriate and what is not appropriate. I think as long as the rules apply to everyone and do not single someone out based on appearances then they have a right to dictate what someone wears and what they do not wear. Again, I do not think she got fired for how she looked.

  13. Eliza says:

    Hi there,

    I was interested to read in the blog above that “many seem to think that she didn’t try hard enough to deflect attention from her appearance in the workplace”. Why would/should a woman or man (for that matter) tone down their appearance to deflect attention?

    Most of us try hard to look nice in the workplace. We try to be professional and look well presented. Where is the line?

    Instead of reprimanding other people for the office acting inappropriately towards her dress choices and appearance – they have reprimanded the wrong person.

    It is the same as not hiring “pretty women” to avoid sexual harassment problems in the workplace – instead of dealing with the harassers.

    If people in the workplace are commenting on her dress and appearance it seems to be blatant sexual harassment.

    Most large companies, like the one concerned, have a written dress code/workplace attire policy. I believe it would be fair to enforce the code across the entire workplace – but focusing on one person (especially when colleagues are dressing seductively) is entirely inappropriate.

    Eliza
    Sydney, Australia

  14. There are so many angles to this one that any diagram of the situation should be a 1,000-pointed star. How do you decide exactly how good-looking a person can be? In offices where everyone is extremely ugly, would an ordinary woman stand out as too pretty? Where I work right now, there are beautiful, tall women who dress in business wear and look amazing. They are capable of doing their jobs and their co-workers are mature enough and intelligent enough to get over themselves. That’s my take on it.

  15. Eliza says:

    Hi there,

    I was interested to read in the blog above that “many seem to think that she didn’t try hard enough to deflect attention from her appearance in the workplace”. Why would/should a woman or man (for that matter) tone down their appearance to deflect attention?

    Most of us try hard to look nice in the workplace. We try to be professional and look well presented.

    Instead of reprimanding other people for the office acting inappropriately towards her dress choices and appearance – they have reprimanded the wrong person.

    It is the same as not hiring “pretty women” to avoid sexual harassment problems in the workplace – instead of dealing with the harassers.

    If people in the workplace are commenting on her dress and appearance it seems to be blatant sexual harassment.

    Most large companies, like the one concerned, have a written dress code/workplace attire policy. I believe it would be fair to enforce the code across the entire workplace – but focusing on one person (especially when colleagues are dressing seductively) is entirely inappropriate.

    Eliza
    Sydney, Australia

  16. Jasmine says:

    I see this as a pathetic and rare case; I am about to graduate my Law Degree and am concerned I WON’T get a job because I am not thin, rather I’m very overweight. In a majority of professional jobs, women are hired either because of extremely good grades, networking but I find mainly because of their thin and stereotypical beauty. Even when I tell this to people as a concern, they initially brush it off… and soon into the conversation they bring it up again, saying come to think of it when I have been to Law Firms for (whatever) reason, all the girls are slim, in sky high heels, and like barbie dolls… all of them.

    So this girl could have mitigated her loss regarding that job and just gone to some stereotypical firm in which men use the attractiveness of the young women in their office as a symbol of pride and reputation.

    I don’t think this case will make it to finding a decision, they will probably settle out of court. She is now pursuing this as a means of attention and self-promotion; and the comments her lawyer makes to summarize the ‘thoughts’ of the men in the office are highly inappropriate and far too subjective.

    Even in High School, on free dress day, the male teachers complained to the principal saying our attire (or there lack of) was too distracting. It was strange to hear, but made us aware and almost ashamed that someone who is not meant to look at us in that light is encouraged to.

    The comments she made about other women being ‘overweight and short’, are completely contradictory, she is herself judging others and discriminating against them as being less attractive than her. It makes you think though, seeing as the overweight women wore tight clothes… they can’t have been as near as tight as hers… she claims a slim girl in revealing clothes is attention seeking? Try having a large girl in tight clothes… that draws as much attention, not for the same reasons. So, obviously her clothes must have been ridiculously tight, for the men to have made such a big deal over this; work is about reasonable limits… when told what they are… respect them and grow into adulthood Miss Stuck in High School.

    I find her to be an attention seeking, manipulative person with a ’sore loser’ attitude.

    Had there been actual evidence of her work being of a sufficient standard, and her being able to cooperate with reasonable requests… and her still being fired… I would be on her side.

    I am all for rights in the workplace… not overbearing sights in the workplace.

  17. SpiderBee13 says:

    Yes, I do think that some women need to be more respectful and understanding when dressing for the work place, I think a lot of us under average good looking women, especially overweight women suffer a lot and are robbed of the credit that they deserve because of other women who are more attractive to male co-workers, or even supervisors and bosses tend to over look the rest of their female employees due to physical attributes of women in the work place! It has been my experience as one of these less attractive and being over weight in a working environment that I was pulled out of sight and put in the back of the warehouse because a more attractive woman was supposedly the rest of the crews motivation for better work production!

  18. Colleen Hendon says:

    This is a subject I can relate to. I do not believe a company as Citigroup would put themselves in a position to be sued. I believe if the males could not perform their work or were so distracted by a good looking woman that they are the ones who should have been spoken to about professionalism and job performance. All the items of clothing described that she was told were not allowed seem perfectly appropriate to me, especially in the business world. I did not read anything about “low cut”, “too short” or “too revealing”. Just because someone wears nice clothes to work and happens to look good in them is not cause for termination. And if what she said is true, that other women wore the same or more attention getting clothes then why would she be the target for dress code? I do believe women in the company most likely had a big part in this. In my experience if a woman looks better than the other women she is then blackballed out of jealousy. Myself, I’ve had to “dumb down” both with fashion and personality just so the other women would not dislike me. Maybe she was let go due to performance issues? If not, maybe the women in the company became like the ladies in The Music Man; pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little, pick, pick, pick talk alot, pick a little more! I believe the term coined is:
    Dress For Success! Sounds like undercurrents and not her clothes and in my opinion, unjust.

  19. locspoc says:

    it’s crazy that something like that can still happen in this day an age lol

  20. Kathryn Uden says:

    Everyone should get up, and dress up for the office. This does not mean Dress up for the evening, or the Date you may have after work. I have worked in the banking industry here in Canada for 30yrs and have managed both a branch, and a Team of Mortgage Sales People across Eastern Canada…100’s of staff. Many were let go due to performance issues. Some had their goals set to high, yes, why? Because they were not team players. Not because of their choice of shoes or clothing ( however I did have one young girl come to work in “Toe Socks and Sandles”..she was sent home to change).
    This women sounds self centered, and too caught up in her “Good Looks”..”Pretty”
    As a female manager, my only concern with dress code came when too much was showing..ie: tops to low, skirts to short…but performance and team play was my biggest concern. Goals that were set too high, were set that way for those who could not meet the grade. Could not work within the TEAM..not knowing what this woman looks like..I guess I will have to assume she is attractive..but I really don’t care..I have fired ugly men and women..pretty women and handsome men..they were all lazy..and in some way shape of form..did not make the “FIT” for my team. That was my only concern..work within the team, and get the job done.

  21. ngwaga says:

    hello Dr Phill,i read this over and over,and i did not find anywhere where the management complained of revealing clothes,high heels!whats wrong with a woman wearing that to work?i do believe in all honesty that women should dress modestly,not only to work,i believe ones clothes tell people the kind of person they are,like ‘your clothes talk about you ‘i discourage women dressing provocatively at work,but am not so sure if this woman did,all i gather is that she dressed smart,looked good,so why fitre a person for looking good?its crazy!

  22. lifeflows says:

    Well back when I worked in an office in the early 1980s, there was more of a dress code in place as to what a woman could wear to the office. This dress code was not written down as far as I know, but it was implied, hinted at. But this is in Canada, and we’ve never been as law-suit happy as you are in the States. I think people had more conservative morals and values back then and most if not all, women just dressed more conservatively in the office.

    A few years ago I was sitting in the waiting room of an office in Calgary waiting for my appointment, and I saw this sexy blonde walk by wearing a very short skirt, high heels, and a clevage-revealing top, and I couldn’t help but notice how inappropriate her attire was for working in an office. In fact, at first I wasn’t even sure she worked there. All I could think of was that back in my day in the early 80s, the boss would have had a cow had any woman wore a very short skirt and a clevage-revealing top to work. The woman would have been told to go home and change and she might have even been fired, whether she changed, or not. But this woman was walking around the office like she owned the place, and no one who walked by her gave her a second glance. And I found out she was a receptionist, so she wasn’t the boss or anything. But I couldn’t help but think she must distract the males. Like men aren’t horny enough already and always thinking about sex and often looking for it too, now they have women walking around the office in rather suggestive clothes.

    But the woman in the office seemed to be accepted by her co-workers, so I take it mores on what a woman should wear to the office have changed. I’m afraid if I still worked in an office, I would be wearing conservative clothing, just as I always have done. Men don’t need extra sexual stimulation when they’re supposed to be working. And if women want to avoid being sexually harrassed, conservative clothing might help out with that. I say leave the suggestive clothing at home, and wear more conservative clothes to the office.

  23. battery girl says:

    I am 50 years old and work on the floor in battery production with mainly men. There are 5 women on the floor on my shift and even though I wear ratty company issued work clothes(loose fit), safety glasses, and steel tips, men STILL look. I am not as pretty as I used to be, prefer the company of my dogs to any man I have so far met and really value my peace at home. It is not my problem if I work with juvenile men or if some see it as playing hard to get, it is further not my problem if there is some wacky wife out there who doesn’t like the idea that her property works with me or I with him. I go to work, wear the clothes, do the job as best I can, and don’t start any fights. I have no control whatsoever over what other people make of anything. I have actually had to file a sexual harassment complaint some years ago ( I forget which one) and was actually thanked by the personnel rep who handled my complaint. She said that many women chose to suffer rather than speak up. So speak up and keep speaking up!

  24. Viva-Louise Holmes says:

    I whole-heartedly agree with JACKIE RAYMOND!
    (June 9, 2010 at 12:18 pm)
    Debrahlee knows exactly what she was doing; that she was pushing the ‘envelope’ to the extreme.
    This whole discussion has nothing to do with ‘being pretty’! It has everything to do with exhibitionism and obsessive attention seeking!

    My sympathy lies with the Management!

  25. Tina Marie says:

    I have been in the work force now for many years. There was a time where short skirts, revealing blouses, and stilittos were not appropriate to wear at work.

    It has changed. I work for a very conservative company where we were required to wear panty hose everyday if we wore dress/skirt. We had to wear a blazer with a skirt, and the pant suit had to match. You could not wear pants without a blazer. We were required to be very professional in appearance.

    Today, they have removed the restriction to wear panty hose. We can wear a skirt or dress without a blazer unless it is sleeveless. We do still have to wear a blazer or coordinated sweater with pants; however, it was made clear that tight, revealing, or plunging attire is not acceptable. Skirts must not be higher than two inches above the knee.

    However, there are many women that work in my company who feel “if you got it, flaunt it.” Isn’t that what the media and movie stars example for us? We have ladies who come in pushing all the limits. I would say based on Ms. Lorenzana’s comments: 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.” says it all.

    I am short (I cannot help that), I am overweight (not because I overeat, but I have a several contributing factors); however, I carry myself well. I am very athletic, and people know that about me. I do have a couple very tall, slendor, and attractive women in my office who always give me the once over when we pass in the hall. One day, I asked “what’s up with the once over glance?” The person said, you always dress so nice for your size. I wanted to reply, you dress nicely as well; however, it is if you are going out for cocktails instead of work. I did not because she is a nice person.

    I think she knows she dresses inappropriately; as well as, the other two in my office. I say, who wants to see someone’s breasts in their face every time you see them. Who wants to see their thong every time the bend over, and many do it on purpose in hopes someone will notice. I mean you’ve got to feel that breeze, right? Like I said, these ladies are very nice and people I socialize with outside of work as friends; however, it does not excuse dressing provacatively in the work place.

    When I worked at American Airlines, we had very specific uniform restrictions. A couple of the very attractive ladies would get their skirts hemmed ridiculously high knowing we bend and stoop a lot to help with bags or passengers. Several of them would keep the top three or four buttons undone so that you could see their pretty lace bra’s. They were nice, but it was obvious they knew they were not supposed to get their skirts hemmed that high or wear their tops unbuttoned like that, but they did it because they thought they were hot stuff.

    Anyway, I don’t know what happened to this lady. However, it sounds like if they were asking her not to wear certain things that she was drawing attention to herself. Do I think they fired her because of her because she was prettier than the short, overweight women she worked with, no. I think she was so busy thinking she was all that (based on her own comments) that she figured she could get away with a little more. She sounds like Pavarti on Survivor who admitted she used her sexuality to get what she wanted.

    Women who purposely wear short skirts, low cut tops, tight skirts or pants want others to look and notice them. You purposely have to buy clothing and take things in to get them as tight as some of these women wear them. Do I think that pretty people have it made in the workforce. It depends on the company and the boss you work for. I think it is possible, and I know it happens. If it is a professional company, then dress professionally. It’s that simple. There is no place for stillitos, mini skirts, and low cut blouses with push-up bra’s in a business environment. That’s my opinion, and I am sticking too it.

  26. Linda says:

    Well, I never had this kind of problem myself… Not sure if it is something to laugh at or get upset about. I think it is so typical though that they put the blame on her. I can´t imagine that a female boss would ever give an attractive man a list of clothes he couldn´t wear in order “not to distract his female coworkers”.

  27. Dena says:

    Tall, fairly attractive women run into this more often than you would think. and it always starts with a jealous female coworker. This woman was not allowed to wear a turtleneck? A pencil skirt? High heels? At what point was it decided that these items were in the same class of no-no’s as halter tops or miniskirts?
    There are many levels of unprofessional dress, but companies are reluctant to address those violations worn my heavier, frumpier women. In my experience, a tall attractive woman is held to a standard of “professional dress” that removes any trace of femininity. I’ve been reprimanded for showing as much as a centimeter of shoulder while wearing a knee-length shift dress while shorter, heaver, less attractive women get away with shapeless frumpy dresses, Crocs shoes, cargo capris, tshirts and sweatshirts on a daily basis without comment.
    If this woman is telling the truth, more power to her.

  28. Carter says:

    Geez. There are beautiful, well-proportioned women working all over the place but they don’t all end up the subjects of the latest gossip across the country. Additionally, I think it’s pretty rare when you hear of a man complaining of a woman looking too sexy. There is beautiful and sexy and then there is just downright distasteful. Besides, any woman who wears a plunging, tight-fitting neckline and a hem line just south of the border is fully conscious of the fact and aware of the reaction she’s likely to get from others. She does this with purpose, whether she’s willing to admit it or not. The woman was warned repeatedly that her attire was inappropriate but she failed to address the issue. Her employers have every right to expect their employees to reflect the image they have established for their company. When she failed to comply with their expectations she opened herself up for disciplinary action, which in this case, her employers deemed it necessary to let her go. I fully support their decision.

  29. sjf12rn says:

    I agree, she knew exactly what she was doing. She has no grounds to win. I hope she loses. Also, I hope the pigs who were leering at her were spoken to. If she is so wonderful and gorgeous with her boob job why is she a SINGLE mother???????

  30. Matt says:

    Carrie,

    I saw her in an interview (can’t remember which one). I didn’t think she came off well-spoken and too bright.

    I think she’s looking for her 15 minutes and whatever she can get (fame, money, TV shows, book) now that all of this new information came out on her.

  31. Octavia says:

    I am a manager and I had a similar situation in my team. A woman (yes, drop-dead gorgeous and a wonderful and open personality) started working in my department and later was transferred to my team. She too dressed very sexy. What I observed was that she indeed dressed for the effect, enjoyed and actually needed the attention from our male colleagues.

    After some time in my team, I felt that she was not performing her job to even the minimal standard. Giving her constructive feedback was near-impossible (lots of crying…The thought that she might be confronted with something made her cry..even if it didn’t happen) and I came to the conclusion that she was used to people going out of their way to accomodate her because she was beautiful. In other words, the “I don’t need to work hard because I’m beautiful” attitude is what came out strongly. I think to some point, you can say that this is probably based on her life’s experiences but it doesn’t mean that it continues to “work” forever.
    Because, after some time, the novelty of the new hot chick at work wears off and colleagues do expect her to pull her weight. At that point, looks don’t matter anymore. For me, as a woman, I don’t care what she looked like and on a personal level I actually liked her. I felt it was a shame that she did not use her more intellectual talents (that she certainly has) but, in a way, sold herself short by only focussing on using her looks. In the end, she left the position to work for another company (my problem solved).

    So, I do believe that she could be hired as this woman (in the article) probably made a very good first impression. I have no doubt that it is possible that later the managers came to the conclusion that she was not performing and found reason to fire her.

    It baffles me that this woman has the “oh, poor me, I’m beautiful, I (ab)use that fact and now I am punished” attitude. Trying to get money for it from her former employer just sounds hugely ridiculous to me (but that is not strange as in my country, holland, we don’t take each other for court for every little thing).

  32. Casey says:

    I believe there is responsibility on both parts. Each of us are responsible for how we dress and present ourselves to others and we are each responsible for how we respond to what we observe. There are women who dress in a way that draws attention to their bodies because they lack worth. They desire to have the stares because it makes them feel valued. How misinformed they really are. The key isn’t to condemn and criticize her, but rather, befriend her and help her to find healing from the the things that keep her in need of being validated by others. I’m speaking as a women who used to need approval from others to feel worthy. Today, I walk in freedom from this issue and find my worth in who I am in Christ. Now, I realize there are men who simply objectify women. These men LOVE provocative women, but don’t see them as valuable human beings. They simply see them as objects that can satisfy their own appetites. Not very appealing when you really think about it.
    There are also the men who struggle with sexual addictions and are trying to recover from their addictions. Women who dress provocatively make it VERY difficult for these men. At the same time, it is important that these men take their recovery into their own hands and learn to look away no matter how attracted they are. It’s their responsibility, but I think women should put a tremendous amount of effort into making it easy for them to look away instead of more difficult. The problem with this as a whole is that people are always way more concerned about their own rights and seldom look to the interest of others. By interest I mean what is best for someone, not their selfish desires. If both men and women would learn to respect one another and look to the benefit of others above themselves, the work place would be incredibly safe and productive. I happen to be protective of men because I’m the Minsitry Leader of Celebrate Recovery. I have men in this meeting who are doing their best to recover from sexual addictions and I believe it’s my job as a leader to ensure their safety while there. I’m also married and have 3 boys. I know they struggle with keeping their thoughts pure. I’ve seen my husband and both my teenaged boys turn their heads and look away from women who are attractive. I know it’s a struggle for so many men to have pure thoughts. When women dress seductively, it makes it so much harder for them. I’d be just as protective in the workplace. But then, I’m more interested in healthy relationships than the bottom line! It’s an, “honor God with my choices” thing.

  33. Bernice says:

    I feel that the term “too pretty” is the incorrect term used here. I’m sure there are other women there who are at least as pretty as this woman is. It appears that the company feels she is dressing in a way that they feel is distracting to the men at the workplace. I would need a lot more information to try to make a determination about what their reasoning behind this is. On the other hand, if the company only hires unattractive women, then perhaps she has a valid reason for feeling the way she does.

  34. Victor Donskoy says:

    Man’s productivity CAN suffer when he has to take extra care to keep his eyes on her face, and not let them wander to check (purely out of instinct) lady’s breasts. Certainly men can learn (but with difficulty) to keep his attention on what they were doing instead of indulging in running internal movies. It is not an easy business to maintain a proper working atmosphere in the office. And it should, indeed, have an element of fun, of laughter, and even a bit of flirt in it. It is in our nature, and it can not be entirely stomped out. But I think the employer HAS the right to tell the employees what to wear and even give some behavioral guidelines to them. However, The employer is opening himself to a lawsuit if he makes separate rules for an INDIVIDUAL employee. It’s a tricky business nova days, and should be carefully thought out. Also, I think, if there was a problem in the work place, there should have been a multifaceted approach to solving it, including some counseling to affected parties, collective discussions, attempts to settle the issue by moving some personal around. This would have strengthen the interoffice relationships and, PERHAPS, prevented the lawsuit. As to the lady, who brought the lawsuit, hope she makes money enough out of it to live well on – she will have hard time finding another employment.

  35. Sunnie Ford says:

    There’s an ego involved here. No need to dress like Marion the Librarian, but no need to believe dressing like a hootchie Mama is an excuse for rotten performance in the workplace. Gal was hired to work, not to elicit male erections. The dudes are victims of their own biology as well. Ego turf everywhere.

  36. 2 sides to this coin says:

    I worked in a place where we had uniforms and my chest at the time was 44 inches while my waist was 30. I was asked to wear a more supportive bra by my (female)manager because the male customers were watching my boobs bounce.
    I am not sure how many of you have ever had to shop for bras that fit a DDD cup, but they are going to bounce no matter what kind of bra you have.
    And guess what? Having a a 30 inch waist and 44 inch boobs will make women viciously attack you in the workplace even if you are going out of your way not to be noticed by men.
    Not all women are this petty, but every work place has those few insecure ones that are not happy with their body or looks and will say any of your accomplishments are only because of your boobs and yes they do get jealous and pay way too much attention to what you are wearing and doing because they do not get the same kind of attention. Some women do want the wrong kind of attention at work-its a fine line

  37. Cindy says:

    I have worked in several different types of offices that included government, insurance and banks.

    For while I worked as an office temp for Manpower Temporary Services. Working as an office temp I was sent to several companies to work in their office doing reception and secretarial work without an interview. The temporary service ask me to dress professionally.

    These companies want you to project a professional image while working in their offices.

    Banking institutions are highly public contact positions. Professional dress is a must.

    Women have to remember they are at work to work. They are not at work to try and find a date.

    I personally do not think that 3 inche heels are necessary to work in an office. You can still dress professional in a dress with low inch heels. Excess jewelry and make-up is not necessary either.

    I worked in a state government office, where an employee came in with a low-cut blouse. She was told by management to go home and change her clothes.

    These women need to save their tight skirts and 3 inch heels for a time they are not at work.

  38. FosterBoys says:

    Doc,
    How does an attractive woman “normally” dress?

    Normally on a date?
    Normally at home on the weekend?
    Normally to the store?

    Better yet, let me flip your question: Is it an unattractive woman’s responsibility to fix up her looks on the job and maybe dress less homely than she normally would?

  39. R. Brown says:

    Here is a simple rule that I have taught my teenage daughter:
    The way you dress sends a message about how you want to be viewed by others. If you dress conservatively, people will see you for who you are and what you know. If you dress provocatively, people will see you for what you look like. Indeed, they can scarcely avoid looking!

    If you want to be taken seriously in a professional capacity, then you must dress in a way that supports that. This generally rules out figure-hugging clothing – for both women or men.

  40. Jane says:

    Narcissistic exhibitionism has no place at work. Based on Debralee’s CHOICE to consistently dress very inappropriately at work, I hope she loses her lawsuit AND has to pay all court costs.

    Crap like hers makes it harder for serious businesswomen everywhere to be respected for their contributions to work, to not be seen as pieces of meat like the way Debralee sees herself.

  41. Mary says:

    Very attractive! But, as a banker, I believe she should go one or two steps toward conservative dress and fit. The outfit she was wearing for the interview was pretty, but I am sure if she leaned over to show someone paperwork, there would be quite a view. There are plenty of alternative necklines that would be as pretty which would be more businesslike/professional and lend credibility. She needs a little “give” in her clothing so it is not as form-fitting, even in layers. Not talking about going all the way to tent or burka!

  42. Anne says:

    This is my experience working on the Wall Street for many years: the professionally sexy look pays off (as long as you can keep it up). Period.
    Unprofessionally sexy look is silently welcome but can impede ones career (as it happened in this case). Professionally non-sexy look is often compensated by the extraordinary long hours and of course unhappy ending i.e. replacement with a new young sexy professional.

  43. Alexandrina says:

    It supose to be a common dress code for everyone in the company. If she followed that and she looks much sexier, preetier than others that’s fine. It is what she is.
    What about a code for managers/executives to keep’it cool and proffessional and in their pants at work.
    Geezzz. Some morons like this invented burka!

  44. Latasha Decker says:

    I think that discrimination is wrong in any form. Just because men can’t keep their eyes on their work she gets in trouble. I think that, in anyother workplace that would be considered sexual harrassment and no matter how you look you shouldn’t be punished for that. If there are others wearing things that were more provocative and they got away with it no one should have even said anything to her in the first place.

  45. Elizabeth Bunting says:

    It looks like a constructive dismissal to me. The women didn’t like her and were jealous because of her looks. The men were distracted by her looks. Management couldn’t fire her because of her looks, so they set the bar of performance higher deliberately so they could dismiss her with proper cause. I hope I am wrong and that they will give her a settlement if they have not done so already. She is a single mother and needs time to get herself another position.

    Having said all the above, I would like to see management’s counter-claim on this. There is a lot of detail that we don’t have that management has on the appearance and performance of this individual. They would have to prove their case in court, so I would have to suspend judgment until that time.

  46. Roxanne says:

    I will expand on this and tell you that I have been unemployed for the past 2 years. I’ve had 5 interviews (all with women) and had one offer, but not the job I really wanted so I declined.

    I’ve been told by a few professionals that I’m not getting hired by women because I am an attractive woman and they would rather not have me around.

    I think I am pretty average in the looks department, but who am I to say?

    To counter this I think it would really be interesting if I could interview with just men and see where that might get me…..

    I am a human resources professional myself, and I have done an extensive amount of recruiting. I think we want to pretend we don’t have a preference, but I have seen on many occassions the “sexy” woman getting by on her looks, and the serious business woman working the long hours and getting no recognition. The male gender tends to think with a certain body part and the female gender tends to always be in competition.

    When will this stop?

  47. cheeker says:

    If what this woman says is true about her company reprimands, I think she was indeed being discriminated against. Unfortunately, there are plenty of disgruntled employees that get fired and then sue, even if they really were a bad employee have no case to sue, and this makes it more difficult for someone to be believed when their case is legitimate.

    I’d be interested to know exactly why she was fired, what was meant by “poor work performance.”

  48. Suzanne says:

    I’ve never been what you would call beautiful but when I was younger, slimmer and better looking, I worked in an office. One morning I showed up to work wearing a skirt which I can now admit was too short. About half an hour after my shift started all the other women in the office stormed by me into the boss’s office. The boss later called me into his office and told me my outfit was inappropriate and he recieved complaints. He was right but the thing is that other women in the office wore short skirts and other inappropriate clothing but no one complained. I hate to say it but they didn’t look as good so I think the other women didn’t care. Women can be very jealous and mean and I agree with other people that have said that if she really got fired for beeing too pretty, other women in the work place were behind it.

    None of the clothing items she has mentioned seemed like they are inappropriate. Turtlenecks? give me a break. That beeing said I have no idea what kind of person or employee she is. Maybe she only thinks she’s too sexy.

  49. Audrey says:

    BOTTOMLINE….BEAUTIFUL, CONFIDANT, ATTRACTIVE, SMART, WITTY, CLASSY, FASHIONABLE, PERSONABLE FEMALES ARE SO OFTEN MISTREATED, MISJUDGED, AND HARASSED AND GOSSIPED ABOUT BY OTHERS, ESPECIALLY BY JEALOUS WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE, IN AN AEROBICS CLASS, BIBLE STUDY, GROCERY STORE, OR WHEREVER THEY GO OUTSIDE OF THEIR OWN HOME AND IT IS NOT FAIR!!!! I APPRECIATE WOMEN WHO VALUE LOOKING NICE!!! I ENJOY THE COMPANY OF THESE WOMEN AND OTHERS WOULD TOO IF THEY WOULD STOP BEING SO SHALLOW AND MAYBE EVEN TRY FOCUSING A LITTLE ON THEIR OWN APPEARANCE RATHER THAN WASTING SO MUCH TIME FOCUSING ON TRYING TO TEAR DOWN ANOTHER FEMALE!!!! I live in a small southern town. I find it very depressing and hurtful to be so pre-judged and mis-judged just because i am confidant and successful. I have a huge heart and I love people from all walks of life. I mind my own business and enjoy dressing nice. i am so tired of being asked if I’ve had cosmetic surgery, how much do i spend on clothing, or if i enjoy getting attention. Wake up world and respect others and who they really are…jealousy is a dangerous characteristic!!!

  50. Darlene says:

    As an attrative, shapely, fit, 55 year old I am often complimented on ‘My looks” at work by both male and female co-workers. While I do not overtly intend to attract attention to myself, I do intentionally “dress to impress” paying attention to my hair, make-up and style. Of course I do not wear short skirts, nor revealing fabrics or cleavage enhancing necklines, but I do love my high-heels! My point is this, a woman at any age should always take care of herself, that is what is attrative; dress modestly enhancing her real qualities, (not physical package). I have been the subject of being the outsider looking in when women in my office got an attitude and were envious, or felt threatened. Also I have been the subject of sexual harrasment too. Being beautiful is not all what its cracked up to be! (Then again I have a very successful career, but I do not credit “my looks” for getting me here.)

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