Weekly Recap: Lawsuits, Sex, and Finance

by Kristina on June 11, 2010 · 8 comments

red high heels

Happy Friday DINKS. I hope that you all had a fabulous financial week.  This week a story broke out all over the television and internet about a woman named Debrahlee Lorenzana who was fired from Citibank for being too sexy.  Now, this really hit a nerve with me because my bank also has a problem with my new website mediamadam.ca

I feel for the woman and I think that regardless of what side you are on, everyone will have an opinion about this story. In the corporate world, we have to look a certain way.  But, when does a corporate dress code cross the inline into personal invasion?

Many workplaces implement a “uniform” or dress code. Whether it demands us to wear a business suit or coveralls; workers are expected to dress in a certain way.  However, in an office environment what is appropriate work attire? What is too sexy for business? And who determines the level of sexiness?

In my opinion sexiness is relative. What is sexy to one person could not be sexy to another. If a woman is pretty, is she automatically deemed to be sexy? There are two types of sexy.  You can be sexy chic.  This is “proper” work attire with the addition of some high heels or a lower than usual neck line (without showing any cleavage).  Then there is stripper sexy which is never appropriate in public, and could include showing some panties.  I am sure that Debrahlee Lorenzana wants to be taken seriously by both her clients and coworkers. Therefore, she may think she is dressing professionally but her bosses may feel it is too sexy for the office.

As a bank employee I have to confirm that finance is still a man’s world. As a woman in finance I try to find a balance between my personal style and the corporate dress code. I do not want to blend into the normal sea of grey business suits.  However, I also want to be taken seriously as a professional.  The area of a corporate dress code is not always black and white. Sometimes it is just as grey as my business suit.

On a final note, is anyone else thinking that this is a sexual harassment cover up? Debrahlee Lorenzana is very pretty; and maybe she did not accept her boss’ advances. To avoid a sexual harassment scandal he fired her to “keep her quiet”.

Here are some posts on this Citibank Scandal as well as other financial news we found this week:

(Photo by d u y g u)

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Money Reasons June 11, 2010 at 7:54 pm

I don’t think it was a sex coverup! The lady that got fired would have mentioned that! I don’t think she’s shy…

I think you are a victim of the media. They have a tendency to tell half truths, and twist something like this to make it a big story. Don’t believe everything you read or hear through the media, they are all about sensationalism…;)

2 Hope to Prosper June 12, 2010 at 9:30 pm

I looked through the pictures (purely for investigavive purposes I assure you) and all of her attire appeared professionl, yet tight-fitting. Miss Lorenzana is definitely very pretty and I’m certain she was a distraction to her male counterparts. That’s fairly common in the workplace, as are pretty young women.

However, I find it very difficult to believe that she was fired just because she was too sexy. I think it’s more likely that her work performance wasn’t up to snuff or she was told many times to dress more conservatively and she wouldn’t. Even a dinosaur like Citibank wouldn’t risk a lawsuit and the bad publicity from doing something so obviously illegal.

BTW, Thanks a million for the link.

3 Jay June 13, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Haha…I had to go and look her up to see what the fuss was about too ;) Not too shabby. I see way sluttier dressed women every day in DC walking to work – Don’t see what’s wrong with her get up, kinda looks classy actually.

4 Kristina June 14, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Check out her interview on the Today Show. Apparently she was fired August 2, 2008 due to “cutbacks” during the Financial Crisis. They told her that she was no longer a good fit, and her dismissal was “performance based”. “Cutbacks” is an age old excuse for major corporations to get rid of unwanted employees. I have seen it at least a dozen times in my ten years within the financial services industry. However, It’s usually covered up under the “restructuring” excuse.

5 Kristina June 14, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Here is the link from the Today Show

6 Hope to Prosper June 14, 2010 at 4:30 pm

This makes a lot more sense. If someone was laid off (cutback / reduction in force) they wouldn’t have grounds for a lawsuit, unless they could prove some kind of discrimination. A lot of finance people got canned in 2008 and they probably weren’t the ones bringing in money. If her dismissal was truly “performance based” and Citibank has the numbers to prove it, her “I’m too sexy” claim probably isn’t going to work out.

But, she generated a lot of attention and it will probably bring her some opportunities.

7 Kristina June 14, 2010 at 4:49 pm

This is true. Does anyone want to bet money that she will have a “tell all” book deal within the year?

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