Will Debrahlee Lorenzana enjoy a mere 15 minutes of fame, or will she give sexual discrimination a real dressing down?
Lorenzana is the former Citibank manager who has filed a lawsuit against the corporation because they fired her, she says, for being too sexy. Because of her curvaceous figure, she was allegedly told not to wear turtlenecks, pencil skirts, fitted suits, three-inch heels, etc., as they would work her bosses and co-workers into a testosterone tizzy. She says her efforts to comply were never good enough for her supervisors.
A Citigroup spokesman insists Lorenzana's dismissal is purely performance-based and asserts that the company has a definite "business-appropriate dress code," although he failed to provide CBS News with a copy of the regulations. ("I have it right here in my breast pocket. Excuse me, but saying the word 'breast' makes me need to go take a cold shower.")
If the Citibank employees get all tongue-tied around an attractive co-worker, it sounds like they're the ones with the problem. What's to stop a vivacious customer from exploiting their Achilles heel? ("Collateral? Well, technically, you need at least 38 thousand...but a 38D will do just as nicely. Hommina hommina...")
Admittedly, Citibank is correct when it implies that it's impossible for males of the species to work effectively around attractive women. I mean, all Hugh Hefner was able to achieve was the building of an empire!
What if other professions follow up on the Citibank mentality? Road crews could hire a token Baywatch babe to deflect criticism. ("Shucks! I want to hustle, but I'm so bowled over, all I can do is lean on this shovel!")
Citibank insinuates that its treatment of Lorenzana promotes a harmonious workplace, but let's follow things through to their logical conclusion. The female employees who are NEVER reprimanded for their attire are just having their Plain Jane status rubbed in their faces. ("You say you had all your clothes yanked off by the document shredder, Jane? I hadn't noticed. Take this worker's comp form down to HR.")
The Lorenzana affair has turned Citibank's advertising slogans upside down. (I hope it doesn't reveal any panty lines while turning them upside down.) In Lorenzana's case, "You were born preapproved" has been changed to "You were born with naughty, naughty genes." Citibank's "Citi Never Sleeps" slogan has been expanded to "Citi Never Sleeps; It's Too Hot And Bothered!" Meanwhile, the slogan "Money isn't everything, but it can turn your dreams into reality" has been changed to "Management isn't everything, but it can turn your wardrobe into Snuggie® The Blanket With Arms."
One can empathize with Citibank's not wanting people's jaws dropping and eyeballs bulging. But if they really don't want people hyperventilating when they take a peek at something, maybe they shouldn't slip all those &^%$ hidden charges into the monthly credit card bill!!!
Lorenzana is currently working for JP Morgan Chase, but has been threatened with firing because of her media tour detailing the Citibank suit. Perhaps the suits will be satisfied if she leaves banking entirely and plays Maria in "West Side Story." ("I feel frumpy/Oh, so frumpy/I feel frumpy and witty and bright/And I pity any girl who isn't wearing flats and a muumuu tonight!")
Note: Danny Tyree welcomes e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.