Our Voice: Firing The Hot Chick

In a truly unexpected counterpoint to my previous post on the discrimination suit against Hooters for firing an employee for being overweight, I recently found a story of a NYC based investment banker who claims she was discriminated against because she is too attractive. Seems like maybe women just can’t win in this misogynistic working culture.

The New York Post picked up on the story in June, and the woman told the paper that she had been reprimanded and informed that “she must refrain from wearing certain items of clothing, in particular, turtleneck tops, pencil skirts, fitted business suits, or other properly tailored clothing”. The fired woman’s lawsuit claimed that “in blatantly discriminatory fashion, plaintiff was advised that as a result of the shape of her figure, such clothes were purportedly ‘too distracting’ for her male colleagues and supervisors to bear.” When the fired woman responded that other women wore the same types of clothing, and some even dressed more revealingly, she was told by her supervisors that the other women weren’t at issue “as their general unattractiveness rendered moot their sartorial choices, unlike plaintiff”.

Truly odd, no? So, are you dying to see this poor discriminated against hottie?  What are your thoughts or initial reactions? If Hooters can fire a woman for being too fat, can a bank fire someone for being too attractive? Is this the same concept?  If you read the previous post  you will recall that Hooters was basing its defense of the firing on a section of the civil rights law which states that a company can fire an employee for being too overweight if being in shape is a “bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the business or enterprise”.  So, can the bank claim that not being very attractive is a bona fide occupational qualification?  I’m not sure that logic flies at all. I will be interested to follow this case and see what develops.  Or, maybe the banker should go work at Hooter’s, and the now hooter-less former waitress can go into banking… and the world will be right again…

Ambrose Law Group

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Filed under Employee Rights, Our Voice - Op/Ed

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