One might imagine that the lingerie industry, known for capitalizing upon the “less is more” mentality, would be the last industry to bat an eye at a scantily-clad employee. Yet the recent acts of Native Intimates, a Manhattan-based lingerie company owned by an Orthodox Jew, defy these imaginings. Lauren Odes, a former employee of Native Intimates, claims that she was fired for being “too hot.” Odes believes that her choice of clothing offended the owner’s religious beliefs.
Upon hiring, Native Intimates did not provide Odes with a formal dress code policy, instructing her to take style cues from other employees. But her selections did not sit well with the store’s owners, who suggested that Odes “tape down” her breasts to give them a smaller appearance.
They also forced Odes to wear a red bathrobe at her desk – an experience Odes described as humiliating. The alternative? Buy a sweater that “went down to ankles.” On her shopping excursion to purchase said sweater, Odes received a phone call from her employer informing her of her termination.
Gloria Allred, a famous attorney for the EEOC, snagged the case, filing a complaint with the EEOC against Native Intimates for sex and religious discrimination. In a recent news conference, Allred stated, "No woman should be told that her breasts are too large, her body too appealing and her appearance too attractive for the male leadership of that company.” The EEOC has 6 months to decide whether or not to pursue Odes’ case. Time will tell whether it’s a winner, or a bust.
Photo credit: Microsoft