A woman out of Florida has filed suit against her former employer for allegedly firing her for having large breasts. Business executive Amy Erin Blakely filed a lawsuit against The Devereaux Foundation, whose management, she alleged, committed gender discrimination and engaged in retaliatory acts when she filed sexual harassment complaints. As Amy Erin Blakely explained to My Fox Los Angeles, she endured harassment on and off for five years with regard to her full figure, her large breasts, and was even passed over for promotion several times.
Amy Erin Blakely, who worked for her former company for 13 years, filed suit against The Devereaux Foundation in Orange County court on Wednesday. She was terminated in 2009. She said that, at one point, one manager even told her bluntly that her large breasts were distracting her colleagues at meetings and that she should do something to hide them at future gatherings.
The Devereaux Foundation denies the allegations, issuing a statement:
“(The allegations) are purposefully inflammatory, and either spurious or twisted in content and context. In no way do these allegations represent the truth about our organization or our staff, but here is what does. We have a deep and abiding respect for women in our organization, as evidenced by the fact that more than 50 percent of our senior leadership team is female.”
But Blakely means business. She is represented by famed victims rights attorney Gloria Allred.
Allred appeared with Blakely on My Fox Los Angeles and said that Blakely had been a dedicated and “valued” employee of The Devereaux Foundation, had received many promotions, and was the assistant executive director (“supervising hundreds of employees”). But after she filed two internal grievance complaints about the breast comments, her upward mobility in the company allegedly stopped.
“She should never have been terminated,” Allred stated. “She should never have been retaliated against for filing those grievances protesting unlawful sexual discrimination, and that is why we are fighting back now with a lawsuit.
Blakely said the sexual harassment started when she got her final promotion in 2003 but worsened when a change in management occurred in 2008. She said that she at first didn’t come forward because she feared retaliation.
In her claims, Amy Erin Blakely alleges that she was told that men wanted to sit next to her to get a better look at her breasts. She told My Fox L.A., “It made me feel extremely devalued. It made me feel ashamed of the way I looked and of my femininity and of my body.”
When asked if she dressed provocatively, Blakely said she always dressed professionally. She added that she never changed her mode of dress the entire time she worked at The Devereaux Foundation.
Blakely is seeking compensatory and punitive damages against her former employer. Allred noted that not only is what has become known as the “Large Breast Lawsuit” important to Blakely, but it is important to other working women as well. Allred stated that it is important that women know they are “entitled to a workplace that’s free of sexual harassment, free of denigrating comments about their body, and that they have a right to protest those sexist comments without being terminated.” She also noted that it was important that women understand they would be protected by the law and that employers would be punished.
Besides the Amy Erin Blakely case, Gloria Allred represented Debrahlee Lorenzana in her case against her former employer. Lorenzana, who worked for Citibank in New York, made international headlines when she claimed she was wrongfully terminated because she was too attractive.
“Woman Sues Employer For Breast Remarks,” MyFoxLA.com