Debrahlee Lorenzana Going After Chase Next?

Debrahlee Lorenzana claims she was fired because she's too sexy.

In a lawsuit, Lorenzana, 33, asserts her bosses at Citibank told her they couldn't concentrate because her appearance was too distracting.

On "The Early Show" Monday, Lorenzana said she has recorded conversations with her colleagues who admit to some of the treatment she encountered at the bank. However, she says they cannot testify because they are still working at the bank and cannot come forward for fear of losing their jobs.

Lorenzana is suing for lost wages and emotional distress.

Photos: Debrahlee Lorenzana

Lorenzana told "Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez she was told by her employers that her pants were too tight, and that she couldn't wear turtle neck shirts nor pencil skirts because she drew too much attention.

"(I was told) my body type was very different than my other colleagues and because of that, they were able to wear a list of clothing items, but I wasn't."

Lorenzana said she was shocked when she heard she wasn't permitted to wear certain clothes to work.

"Especially having my two male supervisors in the room," she said. "I said, 'You're discriminating (against) me. You're discriminating (against) me because of the way I look. Because of my body shape. But it's OK for everybody else to violate the dress code.'"

However, Citibank tells a different story. "Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez noted the bank says her performance wasn't up to par, citing that, in April 2009, a quarterly report showed she was behind her colleagues in monthly sales credit and, in June of the same year, she received a final notice that she wasn't bringing in enough business. The bank cited these reasons for firing her in August 2009.

But Lorenzana disagrees with that assessment.

She told Rodriguez she didn't receive appropriate training for her position.

"I requested numerous times to be sent to finish my training, so that I can open the consumer accounts, which is another side of my business, and there was always an excuse. 'We're short of staff. We need you at the branch. Let's focus on the business." '

Lorenzana says these excuses explain her poor job performance.

Lorenzana is now working for JP Morgan Chase, but that bank, Rodriguez said, has told her they dislike her public statements about her alleged treatment at Citibank because the statements reflect poorly upon the banking industry.

So why does Lorenzana continue to speak out?

She says she's faced discrimination her entire life, and isn't going to take it anymore.

"I tried staying quiet and just get(ting) another job many times. But it came be a vicious pattern ... And it never changed. And this time, I tried to do something else," she said. "Now I'm going to speak up. Enough is enough."

Lorenzana's attorney, Jack Tuckner, said Lorenzana is risking her job at Chase by speaking out about the Citibank case.

Tuckner said, "They've really given her no choice. Talk about bullying. This is a bank now that has said she's done nothing wrong other than blemish the financial services industry by talking about what happened to her. Little Debrahlee Lorenzana speaking with her discrimination at another bank that has nothing to do with them and she's performing well and she's wearing the same clothing that she wore before at Citibank and they haven't objected to it has now said to her, even if she didn't come on this show this morning, she's already in hot water because she violated their code of conduct by simply talking about this. How about that, this monolithic entity doing everything they can to silence her."

So will Lorenzana go after Chase, too?

Tuckner said, "If they fire her, absolutely. Immediately."

Lorenzana said her goal is help people who have faced similar challenges.

"(I'm doing this) basically for all the women out there and everyone that has gone through harassment their whole entire life to say enough is enough. Not to be afraid."
  • CBSNews

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