Women lawyers occasionally find themselves in situations that male lawyers never have to face. And in this case, that includes being denied access to a client due to her choice of underwear.
Via the Miami Herald:
Attorney Brittney Horstman was not packing heat.
She was wearing an underwire bra.
And when the metal detector went off on a visit to the Miami Federal Detention Center, security guards wouldn’t let Horstman in to see her client.
The attorney reminded guards of a detention center “memo” allowing female attorneys wearing an underwire bra to enter. But the guards would not relent.
Horstman stepped into a bathroom and removed her bra. In blouse and jacket, she returned, and cleared the walk-through detector.
Again, guards refused to let her pass — now, because she was braless, which is against prison dress code guidelines.
“So, simply because I was a woman who wore a specific bra, my client was denied access to his attorney today,” Horstman e-mailed a group of fellow lawyers on June 4. “This is completely unacceptable.”
According to the article, this isn’t the first time a female lawyer has has an issue getting in to see a prisoner due to underwire — in fact, in general they had to have a protocol of codewords to address the situation.
But more frustrating is that they also have a full dress code modified mostly for women.
But the FDC’s dress code, which stresses “appropriate attire,” has a laundry list of restrictions. Women, for example, cannot wear sweat pants, sweat shirts, sun dresses, leotards, wraparound skirts, crop tops, low cut blouses, zippered dresses/shirts, button-down dresses/skirts or low-cut dresses.
They also cannot wear “any type of garment that is see-through . . . or clothing that is tight and sexually suggestive or revealing.”
No button down or zippered shirts? What exactly is a woman supposed to wear under her suit jacket?
Luckily, many other local lawyers have noted both the discrimination of the policy and Ms. Horstman’s dedication to her profession.
“You are a true defense attorney taking your bra off to try to see your client in jail!” Horstman’s colleague, attorney Carmen Vizcaino, said in an e-mail. “Betcha none of the guys have done that for their clients.”
(Hat Tip to Feministe)