Fired For Being Hot? Secular Woman Finds Working For Orthodox Jews Who Want Her To Cover Up With A Bathrobe Not Such A Great Job Fit

Lauren Odes, 29, of New Jersey, has filed a lawsuit alleging gender and religious discrimination against her former employers after she was supposedly fired for being “too attractive.” In April, Odes was hired at lingerie distributor Native Intimates in New York City, which is run by Orthodox Jews, to do data entry. (Odes herself is Jewish, but more secular.) Almost immediately, her supervisor told her that she was “too hot” and her breasts were “too big”; she was also asked to tape down her boobs. On her second day at work, when her outfit — a tee shirt and jeggings — still upset her employers, they told her to put on a bathrobe they had in the office. Odes said she then left the office to go buy herself a more “modest” outfit — and got fired while she was shopping.

Lauren Odes has since retained feminist lawyer Gloria Allred, who said in a press conferenced yesterday, “She was simply fired for being attractive and for not conforming to the religious strictures imposed by top management.” 

I don’t know what to make of this story: of course it’s inappropriate for employers to tell an employee she’s “too hot” and her boobs are “too big.” The appropriate thing to have done would have been to discuss a dress code — preferably in detail — before the first day on the job. (Odes said that she asked what the dress code was and was simply told to “look around.”)  It seems like there were bad decisions made all around here: namely, the Orthodox Jewish employers who hired a secular Jewish woman without apparently making it clear she needed to dress modestly.  

But I also wonder why Lauren Odes was dressing “immodestly” at this job to begin with, even if no one explicitly explained a dress code to her. It’s not exactly a secret how the Orthodox Jewish community regards women. Surely she knew —  from meeting them in the interview — that her employers were some of the most conservative and strict in America?  

It doesn’t excuse their sexist commentary about her body or style of dress, though. Makes you wonder why they hired her in the first place.

[Huffington Post]
[New York Daily News]

Contact the author of this post at [email protected] Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.

Image via Think Stock