A former banker at a Manhattan branch of Citibank has filed a lawsuit against parent company Citigroup, alleging that she was fired from her job for just being too attractive.
The 33-year-old plaintiff claims that her male bosses at the bank repeatedly took her to task for a variety of “distracting” outfits. She says she was told to stop wearing turtlenecks, pencil skirts, three-inch heels, or fitted business suits.
And when she attempted to point out that several of the tellers at the bank wore significantly more revealing outfits, “They said their body shapes were different from mine, and I drew too much attention,” the plaintiff tells the Village Voice.
Writes the Voice:
[Her two managers] started making offhanded comments about her appearance, she says. She was told not to wear fitted business suits. She should wear makeup because she looked sickly without it. (She had purposefully stopped wearing makeup in hopes of attracting less attention.) Once, she recalls, she came in to work without having blow-dried her hair straight—it is naturally curly—and [a manager] told a female colleague to pass on a message that she shouldn’t come into work without straightening it.
The plaintiff also alleges that, because of the kerfuffle over her appearance, her managers refused to send her for necessary training sessions.
Last June, the plaintiff got a letter notifying her that she’d been put on a 6-month probation and was facing possible dismissal. Part of the reasoning in the note was that she had supposedly arrived late to work on June 6 and 7. The only problem is — those were a Saturday and Sunday and the branch had been closed.
The plaintiff escalated her complaints against her managers by sending e-mails directly to Citibank. Ultimately, she was given a transfer to another branch, where she says no mention was ever made of her appearance or manner of dress.
That is, until last August, when her new manager gave her the bad news that she’d been fired. According to the plaintiff, there was no mention of work performance during the dismissal conversation, but the manager did mention the appearance-related problems that had dogged her at the previous branch. The plaintiff says she was told that she wasn’t fit for the culture of Citibank.
“If being less good-looking,” says the plaintiff, “means being happy and finding love and not being sexually harassed and having a job where no one bothers you and no one questions you because of your looks, then, definitely, I’d want that. I think of that every day.”
Is This Woman Too Hot To Be a Banker? [Village Voice]