Fired for being "too hot," New Jersey woman claims

Mon May 21, 2012 7:06pm EDT

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(Reuters) - A New Jersey woman said on Monday that she was dismissed from a temporary job at a New York lingerie warehouse because her male employers felt she was too busty and dressed too provocatively for the workplace.

Wearing a form-fitting sequined black dress and black leather, sequin-studded boots, Lauren Odes, 29, said her Orthodox Jewish employers at Native Intimates told her that outfit and others like it were "too hot" for the warehouse.

"We should not be judged by the size of our breasts or the shape of our body," Odes said.

Odes's attorney, celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, said she filed a gender and religious discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in New York.

Odes said she felt her wardrobe was appropriate for a business that sells "thongs with hearts placed in the female genital area and boy shorts for women that say 'hot' in the buttocks area."

Media photographers climbed on chairs and crashed into each other as Odes held a pose and Allred held up a series of purple, black and brown outfits she said also led to the woman's dismissal.

Odes said that on successive days during her week-long employment in late April she was warned that her attire was too alluring, that her breasts should be taped down to make them look smaller, and that she was asked to wear a red bathrobe to cover one outfit.

"This whole experience has been horrifying to me," she told reporters. "I love fashion and I always will, but I don't believe any woman should be treated as I was."

Odes, whose said her duties included data entry and coordinating the shipping of samples to customers, said she eventually agreed to purchase a sweater to wear over her dress, but was dismissed anyway.

"I understand that there are Orthodox Jewish men who may have their views about how a woman should dress ... but I do not feel that any employer has the right to impose their religious beliefs on me," she said.

An employee at the company had no immediate comment on Odes' claims.

(Reporting By Chris Francescani; Editing by Philip Barbara)

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Comments (23)
Gloria Allred? Really? Wow! I supported this woman until I read Allred took her case.

May 21, 2012 7:51pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
john7690 wrote:
This lawsuit is a great example of how completely backward we have become in this country. This woman actually believes that she was mis-treated and discriminated against because her _employers_ set a certain standard for the attire worn in _their_ business. What ever happened to the right of the person who writes the paycheck to make the rules? How dare this woman come into someone’s place of business and presume to tell them how their employees will dress!

To call this a frivolous lawsuit is an understatement. The plaintiff had a choice to either conform to the standard of dress set by her employer or find another place to work. She chose to do neither, and the employers exercised their rights and fired her. Now she’s going to whine and drag them into court. It’s disgraceful, I don’t care how this person chooses to dress on her own time, but when someone is paying her to work, her choice is to accept their terms or go somewhere else.

In a saner time the judge would throw the case out rather than waste the court’s time, but somehow I doubt that will happen.

May 22, 2012 8:24am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Vapor21 wrote:
There’s a fine line between dressing appropriately and dressing inappropriately, granted, that store she was working in might sell “thongs” with “hearts on the genitals” but so does Wal-Mart, then again, Wal-Mart also sells kids toys. This story is one of those things that you can’t control, but you can avert.

Some women are naturally big, but that doesn’t mean they should boast them out, that’s like saying since a guy has a big “thing” he can walk around the street with it half out, chances are, you’d take offense to that much in the same light as others are to her.

It’s more or less the context that matters, if she was working in a sex shop; for example, things would be different, but considering she works for an Orthodox Jewish employer, that’s most likely not the case.

I don’t know the details so right now I’m just expressing my assumed opinion. Again, if she worked in a sex shop, or a toy store, my opinion would be VERY different.

May 22, 2012 8:49am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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