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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. Shannon Rivera says:

    My heart goes out to this woman. It is unfair to be treated this way by anyone. I am a 32 year old, single mother of three boys. I look great for my age, I could pass for early 20’s, something I wish I could be proud of. I always dress professionally, never too much skin, I cant even show my legs for fear that I would make someone uncomfortable. I moved to San Diego, Ca. for a new start after my separation and have been on a job hunt ever since. I just recently graduated from the University of San Diego’s Event Management Course but get asked out when I interview. I have been promised a job but when I don’t go out with them…. surprise, no job. I just want a secure future for my children. I don’t want to be given a leg up because of how I look just as I don’t want my looks to “get in the way.” I would be a great asset to any company, I love events…. I want to do what I love and work hard for a better future.

  2. Robin says:

    I think that the trouble is the reverse. So many women nowadays are overweight and unhealthy looking and on top of it dress badly. So when there is a co-worker who DOES take care of her appearance and is slim and attractive, she is an anomaly. She is a rose among the thorns. And because there are fewer and fewer ‘normal sized’ woman in the workplace, guys’ head DO turn when they see a beautiful, healthy looking woman. I think it is time for all of us women (and men) to shape up, tidy up, clean up and take pride in our good health and appearancel

  3. Marty says:

    I don’t stress out what shoes someone is wearing or that they wear jeans. I’m just not interested in a hair stylist’s flopping, tattooed breasts while she’s cutting my hair, nor am I interested in seeing someone’s red, infected lip ring or a dripping, infected tattoo on someone preparing my salad or sandwich! As long as people are clean and covered I really don’t sweat the small stuff. (But I may mention a shirt that looks like it was used for a grease rag when someone is preparing food is too a real turn off.)

  4. Merle Cheney says:

    Uiiforms would solve this. Women should not show cleavage at work. They are not there to be on display. Too many woman reveal too much and complain if a man pays attention.

  5. Marsh Madgie says:

    It is truly important that woman get treated fairly in the workplace. It is not new news that more attractive people can by with a little bit more than others. It all has to do with the attention that is brought upon the people, but there are several other ways to capture someones attention.

  6. Denise says:

    Society places a lot of pressure on women to be attractive (it really is such a pervasive issue in the media) and rewards them for it as the statistics on wages show. There is much evidence for this, including in other areas such as women who look and dress attractive getting less jail time for the same crimes, and women who wear make-up faring much better in terms of pay (although men need not wear makeup to earn well). But then in cases such as these society punishes women for looking too good – or as in my own and others’ experience, sexually harass women and blame it on them for making themselves look too attractive. There is a seriously contradictory message in this all.

    I have also had the experience of having to really dress down deliberately (as in big t-shirt, loose jeans etc) to avoid sexual harassment and never show my legs anymore. I do not want to grab lots of attention but I also don’t want to feel that I am limited, imprisoned in my choices, that I have to look particularly plain, just because a few men cannot behave and treat women with maturity (the same men, incidentally, who often expect women to look good…).

    This is very much a gender issue. For anyone interested in dynamics around this read Naomi Wolf’s “The Beauty Myth” which discusses what she calls the “professional beauty qualification”… We need to take these kinds of cases seriously – they show massive fault lines in gender equality, my understanding of which roughly translates to “treating all people with respect and dignity”…

  7. Judy says:

    There are always policies in place and both sides need to adhere to these policies. Most companies do have dress codes and give a list of inappropriate or forbidden items of clothing. What a shame that a company needs to do this in the first place! If you are hired by that company, you will probably be asked to sign a document that you were given such dress codes and have read them. There is usually a method of termination of an employee designed as well. First may be the verbal warning, second would be written, and then the termination. Did Ms. Lorenzana receive such warnings stating she was in jeopardy? If only I was young enough and had to courage to wear such questionable clothing to work, I might just feel sorry!

  8. Caitie says:

    Hey girls ,
    Who do you think we are kidding ? What we look like is always important .
    I agree this case it’s so wrong what she is wearing is professional and she still looks hot and that is not her problem its the guys. But What a women looks like is very important at all times if your going for a job interview your going to dressed well and looking pretty. Because like it or not if your healthy and pretty your going to get a job over un healthy unattractive person form a male or female employer its just the way it is and i think we should stop living a fantasy and start living in the real world .

  9. snow_owl says:

    Perhaps things have gotten to this point because so many young women (attractive or not) have now opted to show their breasts, legs, or the area of their private parts (visible thongs, etc.) inappropriately. It’s kind of the fashion nowadays. I have worked on rape crisis hotlines and been trained and agree, a woman has the right to dress as she chooses and it is never the women’s fault in rape. However, if you do choose to dress provocatively, then you will have to reap the results (too much of the wrong kind of interest, a poor opinion of yourself, etc.).

    It gets real old to have a pair of floppy breasts or a butt crack or some other tatooed part thrust in your line of vision, especially in any kind of a professional situation. If it’s a date, and you’re there for your guy, Fri night, that’s one thing, but come on ladies, let’s take our class back and stop playing like we’re little dogs for the media machine.

  10. Doug504 says:

    Was she an attractive woman? Yes. Did she wear attractive clothes? Yes. Was the combination very attractive? Yes.

    Were male employees “distracted” and unable to do their jobs? Give me a break. The last time that happened to me was in 6th grade – and even then the distraction only lasted about two days!

    I’m a man and I’ve been a boss. If the male employees were so distracted that they couldn’t do their job, I’d start firing the male employees.

    Why? Because an employee who drools over every attractive, well dressed woman who walks into the office is not an asset to the business.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’m on Lorenza’s side, she obviously sounds like a good and dedicated worker. This company is just being stupid. While it is indeed up to a female worker to dress appropriately for work, that goes without saying, but to just limit her choices and berate her for stupid reasons…yeah, she had every right to sue them like this. It’s just disgraceful.

    It’s also disgraceful how more attractive women get paid more money for their jobs. That is absolutely insulting. A worker, regardless of gender, should get paid according to their performance, participation, punctuality, commitment, hard work, ect. Paying someone more or giving them more privileges is an insult to women everywhere. Including to the receiver.

    The media does indeed pressure women to be beautiful and to wear the clothes to reveal their skin in some areas and just to draw attention to just how oh-so beautiful they are.

    Now, I believe in dressing appropriately for work, but I also agree to wearing something one is comfortable with. I don’t think a woman should show up for work in a tank top and shorts, but that doesn’t mean she should dress in a frumpy manner to the point of her looking uncomfortable in her own shoes.

    And besides, wearing modest clothing is flattering, and appropriate, and also can be very comfortable.

  12. clohio says:

    I find it hard to believe that she was let go because of dressing too sexy. Harassment and not servicing the boss maybe. I have worked in office for 10 years. I’ve had managers that would ware blouses you could see right down to the subject. Is it distracting yes. inaproppriat yes. Did I like the view yes. I can still see it 5 years later. Skirt so short they didn’t bend over very far you could tell what color or no underware. common cense tells you if its appropriate for the office just look in the mirror. Even over weight women appreciate a flattering appearance. Is she good looking? sure, Is she dressed inapropriately I don’t know. Is she not working as expected? don’t know. I do know if your dressed to go out to the clubs its probably not something you would wear to work.

  13. Jane says:

    Another quick note – every wife with a normal husband should be very concerned about this faux lawsuit. Why? Because our marriages will have their ups and downs … do we want some predatory Barbie doll hovering in the background at our husband’s jobsite just waiting for him to have a weak moment?? When any woman is going to dress the way this surgically-enhanced bimbo does, that woman is NOT looking to work. She is looking for someone to prey upon or she wouldn’t be pulling this lawsuit crap on deep-pockets Citigroup. Put all the pieces together if you want to figure out what this Barbie is really up to… it ain’t pretty and it ain’t honest.

  14. Krista says:

    It is refreshing to see someone who takes care of herself, obviously, and dresses very classy and appropriately for any career. What is sad is that some men have fantasy ideas and cannot control there on behaviors or their advances went unnoticed. Could be that someone’s wife or girlfriend was probably the culprit in getting her fired due to jealousy. I have experienced both when I was 23.

  15. Donna says:

    Ok, I’m on the fence on this one. I could say “if you want to dress like a tart, go work in a bakery”. But I am a woman, and believe that we have a right to walk into work without being harrassed and ogled. I saw a few pics of her, and I think she dressed ok for work, I’d simply say to not show alot of cleavage, but not because they are forcing you to wear what they say you should wear. Just be mindful is all. I do think she has a huge lawsuit, and it’s merited. Someone even suggested uniforms, I’m sorry, but we are not a band of Brownshirts. That would be a no-go for me.

  16. Focusing on clothing instead of character, work ethics, job performance, and professional competency is ridiculous. The statistics are just statistics and there is no way to justify that the woman get paid more because they look nice. People are always complaining and pleasing everyone is impossible. One minute they like you, the next, they’re trying to crucify you.

    In my opinion, when woman are heavy chested and pretty they get the heat regardless. No one every says your butt is too big, cover it up. Besides, most of us are underpaid unless we’re professional entertainers; which includes sports. Furthermore, if they want her to dress a certian way, purchase uniforms for all employees. If not, telling someone they’re dressed inappropriately to me is unjust. There should be zero tolerance for discrimination toward any employee.

  17. Cathy says:

    Women need to dress appropriately for where they are working. If you want to show off what you have, go work at Hooters or a strip club. I am a school teacher and I have clothes that are for work and I also have what I call my “party tops” that show a little cleavage for when I go out on dates with my hubby. The only assets I show off at work are my brains and my work ethic. I do not go to work to impress anyone with how I look–I am there to do my job in a professional manner. We have a dress code and I follow it. When I am at work, my time belongs to my employer and I would think if I was doing anything that was preventing work from being done I would be fired if I did not correct it after being given a chance to do so.

    As a wife, I hope that the women my husband works with have the common courtesy to dress in a professional manner as well and are not there to try and “hook” my husband. My husband says he thinks less of them if they dress that way–it is hard to take them seriously when they are “working it” instead of working their job.

  18. Shawna says:

    Cathy on Jun 30th, you are SPOT ON!! That so many women think it’s ok to dress like a hoe at work is mind-boggling!!

    Cathy’s right – the only assets anyone should be showing off at work are their brains and their work ethic. Doing anything else is turning the office into a meat market, which is of course ok if you work at a butcher’s shop. Otherwise, you are demeaning women and pushing us back to the 1950s – how are women ever going to be taken seriously at work when so many women are using sex to get ahead?? Shame on you tarts for turning against your own sex!

  19. Amy says:

    Sometimes being beautiful is a double edged sword. People judge you on appearance, not your heart. Unless they get to know you. They think that you think you are beautiful and above everyone which is just not true. I cannot even tell you how many times I have been called a “blonde”, so I cut off my hair like Kate from Jon and Kate plus 8. My boss told me “you cut off your hair to prove a point didn’t you.” :) Actually, I really love it.

    God does not judge us from the outside, but people do, unfortunately. At the end of the day it does not matter what you look like but who you are. Be happy with what God gave you and let no one steal your joy.

  20. lauren says:

    Did Ms. Loranzana complain because she was being visually undressed by her co-workers and needed the assistance of management? And maybe she asked for clothing suggestions? Otherwise I’m not sure why this ‘problem’ came to the attention of management to begin with. Surely, if male co-workers are too busy ogling their female co-worker and, I imagine, not getting their work done, they should be counseled? And if their work is not suffering and the victim of the ogling isn’t complaining then why is this a problem? Can’t wear turtlenecks ? Really!! Citibank I think you are going to pay through the nose for this one.

  21. Susan says:

    Without knowing EXACTLY how Ms. Lorenzana dressed every day for work, it’s very difficult for me to express an opinion either way. However, there ARE certain items that women should never wear to work, especially jackets or blouses that show even a little extra cleavage. Cleavage does NOT belong in the office, sorry. Too-short skirts are another no-no in the office, in my view.

    Personally, I think this notion that she was fired “for being too good-looking” is ridiculous, and if she’s using that as the sole basis for her lawsuit, she will undoubtedly lose.

  22. Maureen Lee says:

    I think that it is so unfair to judge someone; measuring them according to how they look. It is so unfair to discriminate and judge women solely on the way they look. In the past, I have worked for real estate developers. They were so hard to talk to. They would make comments about my hair or the make-up I would wear. I thought it was so unfair to judge my work by my appearance. The thing that bothered me the most is that I would be dressedl, not wearing clothing or make-up that would grasp alot of attention.

  23. kouttta says:

    hello i think it’s unfair to juge this woman like this ,i think every one is free to wear what he wants ,if she is elegant it’s not a crime , i was last year in USA and i was in the swiming pool ,and i weared européen bikini and the responsable of the swiming pool called me and said you shouldn’t wear bikini like this it’s prohibited,you know i found that very bizzard cause i think America is the symbol of freedom.so my heart goes out to this woman. It is unfair to be treated this way in America

  24. Liz says:

    From the article above, I don’t see any problem with what she was wearing! Turtlenecks? Pencil skirts? Whoa! I too have a “Barbie doll” figure and if I wear clothes that fit, you can see my shape. Sorry! I agree with one poster about the number of overweight people nowadays. I was in a bank employee meeting a couple of years ago and out of 50 women, there were 2 who were not overweight. Now I’m self-employed as a writer and if I want to wear cleavage, I do.

  25. somebody says:

    so…what your saying is like saying if a bird can fly fast then it should sly slower so the rest can keep up with it my point is that i think a woman should be abel to dress however she wants as long as its within the dress UNIVERSAL dress code for the workplace and those guys, i say this beeing male, and no im not gay,(not that i see anything wrong with gay people) but keep it in your pants she is at work so its to be that and nothing more and if you feel that strongly ask her on a date (as long as she isnt above or below you as far as positon in the company) if you are her superrior then monotr yourself dont give her any treatment diffrent then the others at the workplace and for god sakes get isnt it a little sad that at the sight of a prety woman manny men tunr into drooling cavepeople (if nothing elth i gurinty it wont atract them) anyways im dont ranting
    -sorry for my bad spelling but it is 2:30 am and i cant see my keyboard allso i am tired and will be going to bed now

  26. Candace says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is? I am used to seeing beautiful women every where. At my bank there are quite a few attractive ladies, it doesn’t seem to bother any one. It might be because I live an a area known to have pretty ladies, Dallas TX, but really isn’t New York supposed to be full of models? I think as long as you are appropriately covered, and your following a UNIVERSAL dress code, then its no one else’s business.

  27. Sami HSAIRI says:

    Dear team,
    I am not a USA citizen and I want to file a lawsuit against a US bank institution.
    I am looking for a good lawyer. Can you help me on this please.

  28. Helma Wolf says:

    I am a dutch woman and I remember something like this happening in Amsterdam a long time ago, maybe 20 years or more. This was a very beautiful policewoman who got ‘let go’ because of her looks. Since she was ofcourse always dressed in uniform when at work, there was nothing much to change. The argumentation was mainly that the criminals would not take her seriously. Total nonsense, she passed all the exams. I don’t remember her name, sorry. Even though I must admit she was exceptionally beautiful it made no sense at all. The whole country was talking about it and protesting this decision. It made no difference. I think she became a model and reporter after this debacle, but I’m not sure.

  29. Brenda says:

    Why does a woman want to dress provocatively in the workplace? It can only be a distraction from the work. Why does she wish to excite the passions of others? Why not just go to work and do her work? What is this exhibitionism, anyway?

  30. Kristi says:

    I can’t speak for this woman, but speaking for myself, I experienced a weight gain “up top” with my son and now that I am pregnant with baby #2, it’s not getting any better. Clothes that look fine on smaller-chested women look a little hookery on bigger busted ladies. My husband thinks men should have the good sense to control themselves around a woman’s natural figure…men wear ill-fitting clothing all the time without consequence. Nonetheless, I was reprimanded at work for showing a little cleavage…a very little, the natural stuff that “peeks out” unless I wear a practically Victorian shirt. I was told that people wondered if I was trying to “entice men” and “work is not the place to be a free spirit.”

    Give me a break. I wear exactly what other women wear and it looks different because I rock a 40D +. I feel I am being singled out because I am a little overweight and busty. Feels like discrimination to me. I wish more women would stand up for their right to be a natural woman. I wouldn’t be looking for high-necklined maternity clothes (rare and UNflattering) to layer against my already-sweaty pregnant self so some creep doesn’t get the wrong idea.

    It’s still a man’s world.

  31. judith says:

    i am wondering how this situation came to be.
    because basically whats generally accepted is considered to be normal. that means that the definition of “normal” changes daily. (majority decides)
    it also means that the word “normal” is not objective at all.
    it can be manipulated if you can persuade the majority to take on a different opinion. which has to do with perception, but thats too far into the subject.

    anyway, that gives me the idea that nobody has the right to tell that lady how to dress. (who has the right to inforce his opinion on someone else)
    however, i do believe that everyone has to make consessions in order to keep his/her environment a positive one.
    how can anyone tell whether something is appropiate or not.
    and how can that lady know wheter the company was “out to get her” or not,
    when the whole problem evolves around opinions.

    but it’s a fact that in every layer of our society there is still a double standard between men and women, and both sides tend to use that to their advantage.

  32. Billie McElroy says:

    Speaking of ‘too pretty for the workplace’, take a look at the picture of your ‘housewives’ for your upcoming new show, “Dr. Phil housewives get real”. We can only see them from the waist down, but it sure looks like you didn’t step far out of downtown LA to find them. The real housewives I know and interact with each day don’t wear heels (except, maybe, on Sundays), shimmery mini skirts (except, maybe, to a Christmas party) or even matching running shoes to their leggings. Real housewives wear shorts or holey jeans or cutoffs, stained t-shirts and flip-flops. Many haven’t worn a dress since they had their last child because everything in the size they are now looks dreadful… even if that’s been ten years. They don’t have diamonds or the spare income to waste on even inexpensive bling. We may all have pretty much the same problems in life (which is a stretch in itself, considering the life these girls probably live!), but relating to them as “one of us” is highly unlikely.

  33. Debra says:

    Oh boy, am I coming into this conversation a day late and a dollar short. I did not even glance at one comment beyond this story. Why? Because I have been there. I have stories. I still shake my head in utter disbelief at some of the comments, reactions and uninvited attention I have received. Many of which were direct, and many I never even noticed until it was brought to my attention.

    A few of said comments have come directly from my own family members. I recall comments from both my father and an aunt (on my mother’s side), that I will never forget and baffle me to this day. I was told by my father in my early 20’s that I was blessed with good looks, and my life will be easy. Are you kidding me with this?! Who says that to their daughter? And my goodness Dad, you could not be more wrong!

    Some people’s judgments stem from their own insecurities. They are uncomfortable in their own skin, so I must be a real “stuck up bitch” (verbatim – from both men and women) to have the ability to walk into a room with my head held high. I was very shy, insecure and paranoid during my teenage years well into my early 30’s. I didn’t get it when I would hear someone tell me “to use what I have”. My thoughts went from What does mean? To How rude! I can’t legitimately be an intelligent, nice person?

    I’ve had men send cards and letters with pictures of themselves in the mail. Stating how women should appreciate what men go through to meet them. Excuse me? I never saw these people before! Would you believe these strangers traced my license plate number to find out who I am and where I live. An ex-boyfriend said “it was obviously something you did” to provoke them. A guy I was dating at the time laughed and thought it was funny. This is just one of many oddities I have encountered.

    In the workplace, I was let go from a job after three years of employment, no particular reason, “at will employer”, they can do whatever they want, right? It was a hostile environment, but I was naive and didn’t do anything about it. On more than one occasion, I caught the CFO looking up my skirt as I walked up the stairs to Executive Offices. I saw all the pictures printed from the internet in another office, strategically placed in a location where I dropped off/picked up paperwork. Each time, a new and different picture on the pile in an attempt to provoke some sort of reaction.

    These events did not go unnoticed. I knew exactly what was going on. As these activities increased on a daily basis, someone got it in their head that I was “saving up for a rainy day”. I was a walking liability. I had to be dismissed while it was still under wraps.

    I was told from a male friend, a former co-worker who offered to be a reference for future employment that the prospective employer checking on my references actually asked him “how do you work with that girl”. From a former boss, I was told “I made a very big splash” in the office as a newly hired employee. It will get better as I get older, it has to.

    Now I am 40 something, and just last week, when preparing for an interview, a friend (female) “suggested” I “dress down” for the interview.
    “What if the person who interviews you is short? You wear heels and intimidate. Buy a different pair of shoes.” Had I not seen the Devil wears Prada?

    The final straw. Yes, I have seen the movie. FYI that girl was ridiculed for the way she dressed, for opposite reasons! All the years of ignored hurt, and anger ricocheted off my friend. What do my shoes have to do with anything? What am I supposed to do? Invest in an “appropriate suit and shoes” that I will never wear again? Then what? Surprise! I show up to work on my first day as myself, dressed in my own clothing to hear people say, hey, that’s not the girl we interviewed.

    With this being said, Debrahlee, I feel your pain. Bringing it to media attention is not going to bring about resolve. Unfortunately this issue is not age or gender biased. Nor is it going to change who we are. I like who I am, and believe it or not, to this day, I actually have problems with girls younger than myself. Go figure!

    Thank you Dr. Phil, for listening…

  34. Deidra says:

    I think the whole thing about how this woman is dressed is ridiculous. Obviously she make excellent money and wears nicely made clothes and is built very nicely. Even if she wore some sort of uniform, even one that doesn’t fit her right, she’d still have a problem with men checking her out. My daughter has a situation where she wears an ill fitting, too big uniform and she still gets admiring looks. Her co workers who are rather lumpy built never get looked at. What’s a person to do to fit in? Gain 25lbs? Crazy.

  35. Tina says:

    I just had an experience with this on a job that I had worked for 2 years. I was a teacher for 11 years in a room with kids so this was all a new experience for me. I experienced jealousy for years from a young woman who lied about me. This experience affected me and I let my appearance go because of it. When I started this job, I was overweight. By the end of the 2 years I had lost over 30 pounds and began experiencing some hostility. My supervisor began harassing me. She attacked me my last day there and I could not return. I used my sick leave and then resigned. I am now out of my retirement system when I only had 6 years to go. I have always been single so my retirement system is very important to me. I spoke with an employment attorney. He called it constructive discharge when someone is so hostile that you feel that you cannot return. How can we do something about this so that this does not continue to happen to concientious workers? I am a conversative dresser but I did buy new clothes that would fit. I did not dress inappropriately at all.

  36. Tina says:

    I just had an experience with this on a job that I had worked for 2 years. I was a teacher for 11 years in a room with kids so this was all a new experience for me. I experienced jealousy for years from a young woman who lied about me. This experience affected me and I let my appearance go because of it. When I started this job, I was overweight. By the end of the 2 years I had lost over 30 pounds and began experiencing some hostility. My supervisor began harassing me. She attacked me my last day there and I could not return. I used my sick leave and then resigned. I am now out of my retirement system when I only had 6 years to go. I have always been single so my retirement system is very important to me. I spoke with an employment attorney. He called it constructive discharge when someone is so hostile that you feel that you cannot return. How can we do something about this so that this does not continue to happen to concientious workers? I am a conservative dresser but my mother cought me some new clothes that would fit. I did not dress inappropriately at all.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I just had an experience with this on a job that I had worked for 2 years. I was a teacher for 11 years in a room with kids so this was all a new experience for me. I experienced jealousy for years from a young woman who lied about me. This experience affected me and I let my appearance go because of it. When I started this job, I was overweight. By the end of the 2 years I had lost over 30 pounds and began experiencing some hostility. My supervisor began harassing me. She attacked me my last day there and I could not return. I used my sick leave and then resigned. I am now out of my retirement system when I only had 6 years to go. I have always been single so my retirement system is very important to me. I spoke with an employment attorney. He called it constructive discharge when someone is so hostile that you feel that you cannot return. How can we do something about this so that this does not continue to happen to concientious workers? I am a conservative dresser but my mother bought me some new clothes that would fit. I did not dress inappropriately at all.

  38. Arielle says:

    I don’t see why anyone should be persecuted or even fired for being too attractive, and why should Ms. Lorenzana not dress attractively, as long as her dress was professional? In no way have they stated any article of dress that was in the least bit revealing. How provocative can a turtle neck sweater be? You can’t even see cleavage! And pencil skirts? They’re probably just angry that they can’t upskirt her with such a fitted article of clothing.

    I believe Miss Lorenzana has good reason to think that her workload was set unrealistically to get rid of her, because it does give her employers a valid reason to fire her, although I believe it was a dirty and underhanded thing to do.

  39. Mip says:

    After seeing pictures of her and what she was wearing, I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that her clothing was an issue. It’s really a result of men who can’t control their own hormones and jealous women. I can’t imagine saying that someone wearing a full suit, including jacket, is dressing in any provocative way (unless the skirt is about three inches long or she’s not wearing a shirt). I think that women who call her “predatory” or “unethical” need to seek help for their own issues with insecurity. I am also naturally very attractive and it doesn’t matter if I’m wearing a tight dress or ripped jeans and a t-shirt, men approach me all the time, anywhere. I don’t usually even wear makeup or do my hair. At one point I dreaded even going to the grocery store because several times in a row, men were following me out to my car in the parking lot trying to speak to me. Some people are just naturally very attractive or have sensual qualities that other people just need to get over. Don’t flatter yourself, she’s not trying to seduce you (men) or take your husband (women).

  40. Melinda says:

    Dr. Phil,
    I am currently in negotiations and have been since my initial written complaint Dec. 2008. I have been out of work since Oct. 2010 because of that complaint. I bartender at the American Legion Post for 20+ yrs. As long as I tolerated the disgusting remarks I was able to keep my job. It was a constant fight. The Commander of that post was the perpetrator. This lasted for more then 10 yrs sporadically. My Superiors refused to help me. Why do women especially think that we need to take responsibility for what other women failed to when they raised these pathetic males. Why is it that if a woman is attractive, another woman will quickly condemn her for anything without even knowing. The laws should allow women to electrically shock any sexual harrasser. I have also been harassed by women. I DON’T in any way invite this behavior from anyone. I may expect it, and therefore I am on the defense and have sometimes offended people, but they usually came through with their true colors. I am so sick of men being able to avoid the laws because the laws are protected/created/enforced by none other then men. We all know they stick together.

    To address the other issue-rape
    Married or not-Rape is Rape. The fact that your spouse or boyfriend would rape you makes it so much worse. Been there too. Never reported for fear of my life. I damn sure would never give a rapist a chance to be in my life. What intelligent person would have a relationship with a Rapist, why does he get away with it? They were married, should be capital punishment.
    She needs serious help before her daughter(s) go out looking for a rapist to marry.
    No different then abusive spouses.

  41. four11 says:

    I have NO PITY for this woman. Backstory folks…those features were ENHANCED and she was at one point trying to get on TELEVISION. I live in NY so they already covered much of this.

    She is not going to get a dime…why because she was not a hard worker. Do you really think that Citibank has only ONE good looking female employee? They have over 100,000 employees with at least 35% of them being female. When this goes to court they are going to rip her to pieces. This is why she is on Dr. Phil and her pimp of a lawyer gets on my nerves!

  42. Judy S says:

    The work place is no place for cleavage. Sometimes it is not what a woman wares, but how she wares the close! How a woman walks, stands, poses , sits, can be suggestive. She may not even be aware of how she is doing these things. What she needs is someone to make her aware of these things, in an honest and kind way. This will help her get along better with the women and they may not be as jealous and resentful. Although, I don’t believe she should not have been fired from her job, if she is doing her work well. And men should have some self-control.

  43. Lauren says:

    I am a single mother who works out everyday and have run my own computer service business for over 13 years, but even though I have more knowledge and certifications in one finger than most everyone has in their entire bodies, I have been offended on an almost daily basis by men because of my appearance. One even said me once “Gee, for a big t*tted woman, you don’t dress like a slut.” So you are damned if you do and damned if your don’t. BTW, if you are interested, my response was “High praise indeed” as I looked down my nose at him. The men who are not idiots are just heathen.

  44. kate says:

    I think just from seeing the show that this girl definately is seeking attention – first of all she’s wearing a tight red dress on a show where she wants to dispute the fact that she was NOT trying to get attention. Secondly, I have seen girls do that; dress in a provocative matter, behave certain ways or drop some innuendoes here and there and then Complain about the wrong type of attention they are getting. I don’t want to sound conceited but I am an attractive girl and I could make the choice to dress or act that way to get attention in the workplace but I don’t because that is not the image I am trying to project… I think it’s a craving for attention that is fuel by very deep insecurities – I have seen it many times and quite frankly I find it pathetic.

  45. Michelle says:

    The remarks that citibank said in their comment would have ended the case right then if I were a judge bc they said something about her attention getting activities, which to me they were saying her clothing attire was attention getting, CASE CLOSED in my eyes, Citibank is WRONG!

  46. Jeanne E Schneider says:

    I’ll try to make this short – I lived in Brooklyn (NY) and I was about 19 or 20 when I landed a job at Manufacturers Hanover Trust (hope they’re out of business now)…. I am in my 60’s now, but I never forgot that job!

    My last name was “Quinn”, then, but I was raised Jewish…. I, also, did GREAT at the job and they ‘loved me’ – - – - TIL I had to take off for a High Holy Day – then afterwards things went downhill, I was no longer ‘good enough’ and the harrassment and cruelity to a young girl was horrible…. I NEVER just ‘left a job’, but I did that one and THEN they refused to give me my money in the bank til I signed some forms (I guess to say I wasn’t being discriminated against, I guess….. I refused to sign it and they refused to give me my money – I finally had to give in)….. It may NOT be her dress code that they didn’t like, but ‘who’ she is (Nationality)….. I’m sorry, but I DO hope this helps her case, and ‘maybe’ they can find ‘others’ who were in the same boat at that ’same’ Bank!!! Good Luck and God Bless….. Jeanne

  47. [...] responsibility to tone down her looks on the job? Debrahlee made headlines when she claimed she was fired for being too pretty. She says she was told that with her figure, her pencil skirts, turtlenecks and three-inch heels [...]

  48. Kristen says:

    Ever hear the expression “you’d look good in a gunny sack?” Any clothing or body type can be provocative in the eye of the beholder. I once walked into work dressed in a high neckline, long hemline, no makeup and moon boots (it was winter and I hadn’t changed shoes). I was greeted by a male co-worker who later sent me an email complimenting my appearance. He wasn’t joking or talking about the dress’ fabric. I guess slim, clean and 27 was enough to distract him. I’m not bitter about it, just baffled.

    Regardless of looks, it’s wrong to penalize others for your lack of self-control. Instead of forcing the opposite sex to wear burkas, men should be responsible for controlling their own libidos. Most men do!

  49. Ldianejones says:

    I really hope this young beautiful woman reads this blog. I hope she understand that there are millions of woman that are soooo proud of her for standing up, for doing what we have to do as single moms and that is to work as hard as we can. Now I have to say since I became a single mom myself well my wardrobe really lacks because I just don’t have the time or money anymore for the right clothes, make up, and shoes and honestly just lazy in that area these days. My Wardrobe consists of about every basic pair of dress pants and shirts that don’t require too much ironing in the morning. LOL! I absolutely look up to this woman. In all of the clothing they showed her in I didn’t think one outfit could even come close to being called “not appropiate”. I think Citibank had people who obviously were uncomfortable with her absolute beauty, smarts, knowlegde, and successfulness. Unfortunately that can bring in alot of jealousy and cause people to basically try to “bully” her. Because the way I see it that is just what it is. I really hope I have her strength should I ever be put in that position. I have to say Who in the world in a business world says you can’t wear a pencil skirt. It comes almost past the knees. So she fills out her clothing in a nice way and she is a absolutely beautiful woman and mother. How can that be called inappropiate? She shouldn’t be harrassed because she is beautiful and doesn’t wear clothes sizes too big to cover her body. THIS IS AMERICA why should she? I am praying that you win this fight. To stand up like that takes so much courage and just shows that you have amazing strength as a woman. Please Dr Phil keep us updated on what happens with this. We will all be in her corner and cheering her on. Please don’t change who are. You are a woman most of look up! and make us want to strive to have the same success you have had. So your appearance on the show did SO MUCH for all of us single moms out there. I am sorry though that you even have to deal with this. It’s just not fair to you. IN NO WAY is it appropiate for you to be harrassed like that for taking care in how you dress! Keep your head up. There is alot of women out that that are so cheering you on and will be praying that everything works in your favor. It it no small feat going up against a bank that powerful but good for you for showing them you are not some little woman they can harrass and then just flick you away like you were nothing. Obviously from your work history or what we know of it you are one hard worker. I know this must be hard on you. As single moms we really don’t and shouldn’t have to deal with crap like this when we have so many other responsibilities and I know from my own expierience how hard it is to raise a child on your own. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! NOT ONE OUTFIT shown on the show showed anything but that you are a beautiful woman who takes care in how she dresses and presents herself. I know that I am blessed enough in my workplace to work with mostly woman and I can tell you in our handbook of clothing that is acceptable. PENCIL SKIRTS are on the accpetable list and I have to look at your troubles and be thankful that was I to walk in like that and on the rare occasions I do there isn’t a word said that is not a compliment. My boss, My coworkers, all of them will greet you and tell you Wow you look great today and jokingly say now you don’t have another interview somewhere and are leaving us are you. Dr Phil what can do to help support this woman? She should be celebrated in this world where we so often don’t take good care of ourselves. She obvioulsy takes great care in her body and how she presents herself and I think that IS A GREAT THING! If a man is uncomfortable With the way she is dressed considering she is completely covered up what does that say about that man. MAybe that he can’t keep himself under control? Stay stong and we are on your side! Hope you KICK BUTT!

  50. K.C. says:

    Happened two time in two years for my career. Men need to understand that when you enter the office your mojo turns off. We deserve the right to dress appropriately and if a woman decides to add some accessories or maintain a sense of individual style right to dress it just show how unprofessional men really are. It’s 2011 not biblical time where dress is controlled by status. Time for men to accept and control their thoughts and get to work!

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