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Lauren Odes ‘too hot’ for work? Woman sues former lingerie employers citing discrimination

Nadine Bells
Shine On
May 22, 2012

Lauren Odes, 29, is "too hot" for her workplace and she has filed a lawsuit to prove it.

Odes claims 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 job.

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

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Odes claims that her conservative Orthodox Jewish employers at Native Intimates told her to tape down her breasts to make them smaller and was even asked to wear a red bathrobe to cover an outfit.

Odes tells GMA that she noticed other employees wore clothing that ranged from very casual athletic wear to business attire. So in an attempt to match that dress code, she donned a gray T-shirt with jeggings — but was told to cover up more. She eventually agreed to wear a long sweater at work, but while she was shopping for the cover-up item, she received notice that she was dismissed.

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

At a news conference on Monday, Odes and her lawyer, celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, held up some of the outfits in question, all of which Odes felt were appropriate, considering she was "working in a business that is not a synagogue but is instead selling thongs with hearts placed in the female genital area and boy shorts for women that say 'hot' in the buttocks area," Odes argues.

Watch the media statement by Odes and her lawyer in the news clip below:

Odes might not have much of a case, according to U.S. law. Their country allows employers to dismiss employees with no employment contracts for any reason, with the exception of religious discrimination. Dress code, legally, is still a very grey area.

In Canada, dress codes can be enforced if those codes have health and safety purposes such as hairnets in a restaurant or steel-toed boots on a construction site, or to accommodate religious freedom such as a headscarf.

Odes has filed a gender and religious discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in New York.

This isn't Allred's first "too sexy" dismissal case. In 2010, she defended Debrahlee Lorenzana, an ex-Citibank employee who claimed her attractiveness played into her dismissal, not her work performance. Citibank denied the claim. Lorenzana's case, settled out of court, is now closed.

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The Atlantic Wire criticizes the tabloid-esque nature of stories like this, arguing that Odes story hurts women:

"Any imagined or real injustice is less important than the fact that this woman has the audacity to claim she's so hot she lost her job. In that way, it ends up being a story that lets people hate women."

However, is this really a case of "hot or not?" Sure, jeggings are hardly workplace-appropriate. But being told to tape down your breasts is a completely different issue.

Does your workplace enforce a dress code? Should an employer be able to dictate modestly levels? Sound off in the comments.

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