Everything about Debrahlee Lorenzana is hot. Even her name.
She is undoubtedly gorgeous: the envy of every woman and the object of every man’s fantasy (see the pictures.)
She’s tall with a perfectly curvaceous, hour-glass figure. She has flawless skin, perfect hair and a beautiful face, reports the Village Voice.
But her looks are only a fraction of it. She’s also a hard-working, 33-year-old single mother from Puerto Rico.
She came to NYC with nothing, but her determination, intelligence and dedication helped her rise to success within the finance field, not exactly known for its pleasant days.
Yet she proved herself worthy, and was even honored with employee recognition awards on more than one occasion.
Eventually last summer, Lorenzana was fired from a job she’d held at the Chrysler Building branch of Citigroup after, she says, she was warned repeatedly that her clothes were too distracting, tight, and inappropriate.
But in her lawsuit against the bank, Lorenzana says that the bank was merely discriminating against her for her God-given good looks, her Latina heritage.
Lorenzana revealed her story to the world in The Village Voice and has been making headlines since early this morning.
From the moment she was hired at Citibank, it became evident that her looks would become a major factor during her time there.
One co-worker pointed out that the branch was ‘pretty much known for hiring pretty girls,’ and that she knew Lorenzana was going to be hired from the moment she came in for her interview.”
“I couldn’t wait to start working at Citibank,” Lorenzana said. She said she felt that way back in September of 2008 in Citibank’s Chrysler Building branch. But Lorenzana said it quickly turned in to a nightmare.
She was told not to wear high heels because they drew attention to her figure and stopped men from working, according to a lawsuit.
“We don’t want you to wear turtlenecks; we don’t want you to wear pencil skirts; we don’t want you to wear fitted suits or even heels,” she said.
Other female colleagues who wore similar clothes did not cause a problem because they were not as attractive as her, it was claimed.
She said her superiors at Citibank said her case was different because she had a better body than most women.
“What they said to me is (other women’s) body types and my body type were different and because of my body type I drew too much attention,” she said.
Lorenzana said she went to human resources, but that infuriated her bosses. She said they kept harping on her appearance.
Lorenzana is, by her own admission, a shopaholic. She shops for her work clothes at Zara, but when she has money, she says, she spends it on designer clothes. She has five closets full of Burberry, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Roberto Cavalli.
In her son’s closet, there’s a row of tiny Lacoste, Dolce & Gabbana, and Ralph Lauren T-shirts. She says her love of fine clothes is a result of her growing up poor — she recalls running a high school marathon barefoot because she couldn’t afford sneakers.
“Men are kind of drawn to her,” says Tanisha Ritter, a friend and former colleague who also works as a banker and praises Lorenzana’s work habits.
“I’ve seen men turn into complete idiots around her. But it’s not her fault that they act this way, and it shouldn’t be her problem,” she added.
Her lawyer said she “‘was punished because her male bosses couldn’t handle their libidos.” Of her figure, he added: “Debrahlee Lorenzana would be very attractive in a burkha.”
Speaking after the lawsuit was filed, she said: “Never did I ever show cleavage. I like fashion, but I always dressed professionally.”
“I can’t help it that I have curves. And I’m not going to go eat and gain 50 or 100 pounds because my job wants me to be the same size as everyone else,” she added.
Because Citibank made Lorenzana sign a mandatory-arbitration clause as a condition of her employment, the case will never end up before a jury or judge.
An arbitrator will decide. Citibank officials won’t comment on the suit.
After finally getting the transfer she had asked for, she was fired in August of 2009. Poor job performance was the explanation.
A Citibank representative told CBS there is a business-appropriate dress code for the company but would not provide details or the written policy. CBS also learned managers have discretion when it comes to enforcing it.
All Citibank would say about Lorenzana was: “We believe this lawsuit is without merit. (We) cannot comment more specifically on this litigation, this former employee’s overall performance, or the reasons for her termination.”
Last month, Miss Lorenzana had a gender-discrimination lawsuit dismissed. Citigroup said her latest legal action was ‘without merit’.