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Citibank lawsuit: Queens woman claims she was fired for her appearance

New York employment lawyer news: Queens woman sued Citibank for sexual harassment, but suit likely to go to arbitration.

06/04/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks

New York, NY – A Queens woman filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Citibank seeking damages for lost wages and emotional distress, claiming she was victim to a hostile work environment based on her choice of attire, as reported by

Debrahlee Lorenzana, 33, began working at the Citibank branch located in the Chrysler Building in Manhattan in September 2008. Upon beginning her position as a business banker, she became subject to “inappropriate and sexist comments,” according to the suit.

Lorenzana’s lawsuit claims she was ordered to tone down her wardrobe, including form fitting clothes like turtlenecks, pencil skirts and fitted suits. She was told her clothing was “too distracting” for her male colleagues and supervisors to handle.

Lorenana claims she requested to be transferred to a different office branch in May 2009, but was initially denied the request. She was granted the move in July 2009 though, after complaining to HR, but then fired in August for alleged poor job performance.

Lorenzana claims she always dressed professionally; and while other women wore the same types of garments, they were never ordered to change their attire.

Citibank issued a statement:

“We believe this lawsuit is without merit and we will defend against it vigorously…Citi is committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and providing a respectful environment in the workplace.We have a strong commitment to diversity and we do not condone, or tolerate, discrimination within our business for any reason.”

Lorenzana had previously filed a gender discrimination suit, which was later dropped.

In September, 2008, Lorenzana signed employment documents that stipulated that any employment disputes must be resolved through arbitration, meaning arguments will not go to court.

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