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Entries in Sexual Discrimination (3)

Tuesday
May222012

New Jersey Woman Says She Was Fired for Being too Busty

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A New Jersey woman says she was fired from her job after her manager told her to "tape her breasts" down, and now has filed suit against the company claiming religious and sexual discrimination.

Former data entry worker Lauren Odes said that after two days with Native Intimates, a midtown Manhattan wholesale lingerie company, a supervisor told her the store owners were not happy with her outfit, suggesting it was too "distracting."

"When I first started working there, I asked what the dress code was, and I was just told to look around and see what everyone else was wearing," Odes said in a press conference Monday.  "So I did.  The dress was very casual athletic wear to business attire."

Odes said the company owners are Orthodox Jews who were offended by her attire.

At a news conference announcing the suit, she said that at first she compromised, saying she'd wear a gray T-shirt and black jeggings with rain boots to work, but that wasn't enough.

"When my supervisors suggested that I tape down my breasts, I asked 'Are you kidding me?'" Odes said.  "The supervisor said, 'Just cover up a little more.'"

The female supervisor then walked over to a closet, pulled out a bright red bathrobe decorated with pictures of guitars, and told Odes to put it on, she said.

"She told me to sit at my desk and wear it all day.  I felt completely humiliated," Odes said.  "She put the bathrobe on me and tied the belt and I returned to my desk wearing it."

Her supervisor then gave her the option of to go out and buy a sweater that "went to her ankles" instead of wearing the bathrobe, she said.  After being ridiculed and made fun of by co-workers, Odes said, she obliged.

But while she was out shopping for the sweater, the 29-year-old got a phone call saying she'd been terminated, she said.

Now, attorney Gloria Allred has filed suit against Native Intimates with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

"The treatment was discriminatory, profoundly humiliating and unlawful," Allred said.

Odes, who said she is also Jewish, said no employer has the right to impose their religious beliefs on employees.

"I do not feel an employer has the right to impose their religious beliefs on me when I'm working in a business that's not a synagogue, but sells things with hearts on the female genitals and boy shorts for women that say hot in the buttocks area," she said. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun212011

Workplace Discrimination: Transparency Key in Fight for Equality

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in the Walmart case, women across the country are re-examining the weapons they have in the fight against discrimination in the workplace. According to a new study, transparency is one of the best ways to battle inequality.

"More transparency almost always helps in fighting sex discrimination and other forms of discrimination because it exposes what the employer is doing," said Suzanne Goldberg, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia University. "Increased transparency is almost always a good thing because when hiring and promotion processes are more open there is less room for discrimination to flourish."

The study, from the Institute for Women's Policy Research, uncovered that secrecy is the norm in the private sector. Sixty percent of private sector employees are discouraged or forbidden from discussing their pay, reveals the study. This may be one of the reasons the pay gap between men and women is 23 percent in the private sector, while in the federal government, where transparency is mandated, the gap is only 11 percent.

Although the Walmart case struck a blow against class-action lawsuits, Goldberg says it just means that going forward cases will need to be more focused to succeed.

"This is not doomsday for sex discrimination class action. It does mean discrimination suits will be brought on a smaller scale, either on a per store or per unit basis, but sex discrimination suits will continue and will continue to force change in workplaces," Goldberg told ABC News. "I expect sex discrimination lawsuits to continue for as long as sex discrimination continues in workplaces, which unfortunately will be for the foreseeable future."

Goldberg said one of the most important things women can do is know what resources are available to them.

"It can be a very challenging process to bring a discrimination suit, which is why there are so few suits relative to the amount of discrimination in the workplace," she told ABC News. "The best first step for an employee that cannot afford a lawyer is to go to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is the federal agency that enforces Title VII, the federal anti-discrimination law. Or to go to a state or local human rights commission that enforces state and local law because those agencies can sometimes provide lawyers to aid in bringing cases."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec062010

Supreme Court to Review Massive Walmart Class Action Case

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court announced Monday it would review whether to allow one of the largest class action suits in history to go forward against retailing behemoth Walmart.

Walmart had asked the high court to step in, arguing that a lower court was wrong to allow the sex discrimination case to go forward as a class certification instead of allowing employees to file on an individual basis.  In briefs, Walmart argued the class size would be "larger than the active duty personnel in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard combined."

Walmart said the class action could include "every woman employed for any period of time over the past decade in any of Walmart's approximately 3,400 stores...the millions of class members collectively seek billions of dollars in monetary relief."

The action stems from a sexual discrimination suit filed by six women who worked in 13 stores who alleged they had been paid less than men in comparable positions, despite having higher performance ratings and greater seniority.

In court papers, lawyers for the women say the case needs to proceed as a class action because Walmart exercised a strong centralized corporate culture, and that class litigation "may be the only means of obtaining the broad injunctive relief necessary to address the allegedly discriminatory policies challenged."

"The average Walmart worker," the briefs say, "simply does not have the capacity to pursue a discrimination lawsuit against her employer."

The women seek injunctive relief, back pay and punitive damages.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio