Earlier this year we were treated to the case of a dentist firing his assistant for being so “hawt” that continuing to employ her jeopardized his marriage. She lost. But whereas beauty is in the eye of the beholder, weight can be measured by a scale.
The Borgata Casino in New Jersey, as all other casinos, employs cocktail waitresses to serve customers alcohol while they lose. Sorry, I mean game. The pre-employment brochure provided to job applicants was quite descriptive when it came to the “Borgata Babe” role: “…Part fashion model, part beverage server, part charming host and hostess. All impossibly lovely.” And oh yeah, if you are hired and gain one dress size in weight, it’s bye-bye.
The Casino says 4,000 women applied for the role. They hired at least 22, because that is the number of “Borgata Babes” that sued them for discrimination for their weight restrictions. It wasn’t like the casino didn’t try to support their weight management efforts, what with helpful tips to take laxatives, take weight loss inducing drugs, and stop snacking. Those pushing the scales in the wrong direction were put on a very short probation period and fired if they did not lose the required weight.
New Jersey is well known for its expansive anti-discrimination laws (Whadda ya mean you’re not in a protected class?), but apparently they left fat off the list. I’m sure some enterprising legislator in Trenton will dial up someone in Lansing to get the language in the law protecting heavy Wolverines (except for offensive lineman at the University of Michigan).
HR Pros can surmise what came next, and they’d be right: Every complainant knew the requirements of the job before taking it, discipline for failing to meet weight requirements were consistent and equally applied, and no law prohibited the work rule. Case dismissed. Said Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Nelson Johnson, employers are free to “impose reasonable standards regulating employee appearance through the enforcement of grooming standards,” wrote the judge, “including those that regulate weight.”
So looks and weight are 0 – 2 in court cases. For now.