Prosecutor Fired After 'Bimbo' Dress Dispute
Sep. 20, 1988
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ A prosecutor whose boss complained her short skirts made her look like a man-hunting ''bimbo'' has been fired after lodging a complaint against him with the county human rights commission.
Brenda Taylor, a Broward County assistant state attorney, had refused to trade her designer blouses and tight-fitting skirts for more conservative atire despite memos from her supervisor, John Countryman.
''I'm a little embarrassed for the state attorney's office,'' Ms. Taylor's attorney, Harris Lowenthal, said after Monday's firing. ''I think they've stepped into a hole and now they're digging it deeper.''
Ms. Taylor on Monday received a dismissal letter charging she had mishandled drunken-driving cases, was frequently absent or tardy from court, and failed to complete paperwork.
''This is garbage,'' said Ms. Taylor, 25. ''It just shows to what lengths they will go to get someone. I've never been a crusader before, but it was my neck on the line and I had to do something.''
Ms. Taylor said her firing came in direct response to the complaint she filed against Countryman last month, charging him with discriminating against her. No hearing date was set.
Countryman's problems with Ms. Taylor were spelled out in five memos and in Monday's termination letter.
''I told her that her appearance in court in a short skirt created the impression that she was a bimbo interested only in meeting men,'' Countryman wrote in one memo. ''I stressed that she was not, but that, to outsiders, appearance was reality.''
On Aug. 5, supervisors warned Ms. Taylor her job performance during a six- month probationary period was unsatisfactory, and her probation for the $22,000-a-year job was being extended a month.
''Since Aug. 5, nothing of a positive nature has occurred which would change the opinion of the administrators,'' Ralph Ray, the office's chief assistant said in the termination notice.