If you’ve seen today’s Daily News, you’ve likely seen the cover story about the lawsuit filed by a woman against a company owned by Orthodox Jews, where she claims she was fired for being “Too Hot.” Or maybe you saw it on Above The Law.
I have three reactions to this:
1. There should be no such thing as “too hot.” Who fires an attractive women just for being attractive. If that’s what happened, these people are dumb. (Note, I don’t think that’s what happened.) We should be encouraging hotness in the workplace. [I’ll finish the rest of this post just as soon as I get back from mandatory sexual harassment training.]
2. If she really was fired for, let’s say, dressing inappropriately (even if to the more exacting and nitpicky standards of Orthodox Judaism), then it behooves her employers (not as a legal obligation, but a religious one) to let her go in a way that allows her to maintain some dignity and does not cause her to publically file a lawsuit that, let’s face it, is salacious and juicy and people will use to mock/ridicule Orthodox Jews/Judaism and therefore causes a chillul hashem. However, as it seems to me in this case, that was unavoidable. This woman seems like a fame-whore. The kind who joins a website that helps people get on reality TV. The kind that hires Gloria Allred. It’s possible that the lawsuit and the stupidity was unavoidable. Which brings me to my legal argument.
3. This is Bullshit (that’s a legal term of art). A private employer can set whatever standards or dress codes it wants for its offices. That’s not religious or sexual discrimination.
The woman, Lauren Odes, is quoted saying, “I am Jewish as well and don’t feel any employer has the right to impose their religious beliefs on me.” Well, you know what? They do. They are a private employer, and if you want to work there, you have to live by their dress code. B&H is closed Shabbos. Is that “imposing religious beliefs” on all the employees that might want to work on Saturday? Of course not, and even suggesting it makes me feel dumber.
The article suggests that she wore to work the same dress she wore to the press conference, and is in the pictures of her on the Daily News website. To my eyes, it’s borderline but not problematic. But my eyes don’t matter. The skirt doesn’t cover he knees, the sleeves to cover her elbows, and the high belt certainly accentuates her bust. I might not agree with these criteria, but I certainly support an employer’s right to impose them.
A lot is made of the fact that this was a Lingerie factory/distributor. That’s entirely irrelevant. It’s an office. You work in an office, you dress appropriately for that office. I am sure nobody is walking around the main corporate offices of Victoria’s Secret in lingerie. It’s an office, a place of business. She’s not a model at a photo shoot.
Finally, and kind of circling around to my first point, this woman clearly has an inflated opinion of herself, and I have very little doubt that she (i) fabricated or embellished her story and (ii) gets a HUGE rush out of saying, over and over, the words “too hot.” Please, honey, you ain’t too hot for squat.