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Workplace Harassment at Al-Jazeera and Citibank

Could Your Appearance Cost You Your Job?

Do beauty and employment go hand in hand? Not always. Two notable cases have popped up in the news this week, asking us to examine how appearance affects women on the job. And the findings aren't very pretty.

Five female Al-Jazeera presenters, including Joumana Nammour (pictured), have quit to protest editor Ayman Jaballah's commentary on their "immodest" appearance. Unlike some other Al-Jazeera presenters, all five regularly appeared with their hair uncovered, prompting Jaballah to question their decency. After months of harassment complaints went unanswered by the TV network, the presenters resigned. (Three other women have registered protests but remain employed.)

To see what's going on in the States, keep reading.
Meanwhile, on this side of the world, New York banker Debrahlee Lorenzana argues that she was fired by Citibank because of her looks. In a lawsuit, she alleges that her bosses said her curvy appearance was too distracting, and she was ordered to stop wearing high heels, turtlenecks, and fitted business suits. She claims that the male managers complained they couldn't focus on their work because of her looks — which suggests to me that perhaps they're the ones who aren't good at their jobs.

Two very different tales, one exceedingly tired story: career women earn success in their respective fields and are forced to leave their jobs because sexist coworkers don't approve of their (perfectly reasonable) appearance. Lorenzana's case is headed to arbitration, while the five Al-Jazeera employees aren't making public statements. What do you think it would take to change the way looks are treated in the workplace?

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Beauty Beauty 5 years
There is probably more to the story, but it's pretty telling that Citibank's reprimand memo to her cited her being late to work... on a Saturday and Sunday, when she isn't expected to be at work.
Beauty Beauty 5 years
There is probably more to the story, but it's pretty telling that Citibank's reprimand memo to her cited her being late to work... on a Saturday and Sunday, when she isn't expected to be at work.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 5 years
Unless I can order a handsome coworker to wear dark shades because his dreamy eyes distract me from my job, this seems unfair. I have to think there is more going on here than meets the eye, something is not adding up. To let my imagination run wild, maybe her wardrobe really was inappropriate, maybe she is very difficult to work with and they were looking for a reason to fire her, maybe she had a personal conflict with a higher up. But I agree that she's can't possibly be the first attractive woman to work at citibank.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 5 years
Unless I can order a handsome coworker to wear dark shades because his dreamy eyes distract me from my job, this seems unfair. I have to think there is more going on here than meets the eye, something is not adding up. To let my imagination run wild, maybe her wardrobe really was inappropriate, maybe she is very difficult to work with and they were looking for a reason to fire her, maybe she had a personal conflict with a higher up. But I agree that she's can't possibly be the first attractive woman to work at citibank.
bryseana bryseana 5 years
When I worked in retail some people were fired for violating the dress code on several occasions. They were warned and coached before being fired. Some were men, some women. We could wear high heels but they couldn't be too high. They had to be tasteful. That went for jewelry, tops, pants, etc.. No one should be fired for their physical appearance. That's discrimination. But dress code violations are part of company policy. Lorenzana may have a case if her claims are true, but I get a shady vibe from her. I'm sure equally beautiful / sexy women have worked at Citibank before her.
bryseana bryseana 5 years
When I worked in retail some people were fired for violating the dress code on several occasions. They were warned and coached before being fired. Some were men, some women. We could wear high heels but they couldn't be too high. They had to be tasteful. That went for jewelry, tops, pants, etc..No one should be fired for their physical appearance. That's discrimination. But dress code violations are part of company policy.Lorenzana may have a case if her claims are true, but I get a shady vibe from her. I'm sure equally beautiful / sexy women have worked at Citibank before her.
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