Skip to comments.Court Backs Firing of Waitress Without Makeup
Posted on 12/29/2004 8:39:47 AM PST by freespirited
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A female bartender who refused to wear makeup at a Reno, Nevada, casino was not unfairly dismissed from her job, a U.S. federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday.
Darlene Jespersen, who had worked for nearly 20 years at a Harrah's Entertainment Inc casino bar in Reno, Nevada, objected to the company's revised policy that required female bartenders, but not men, to wear makeup.
A previously much-praised employee, Jespersen was fired in 2000 after the firm instituted a "Beverage Department Image Transformation" program and she sued, alleging sex discrimination.
In a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling in favor of Harrah's. All three judges are males appointed by Democratic presidents.
"We have previously held that grooming and appearance standards that apply differently to women and men do not constitute discrimination on the basis of sex," Judge Wallace Tashima wrote for the majority.
He cited the precedent of a 1974 case in which the court ruled that a company can require men to have short hair but allow long hair on women.
The Lambda Legal Defense Fund, a gay rights group that backed Jespersen's suit, had argued that forcing female employees to have different standards than men was unlawful under rules, known as Title VII, against discrimination on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
The ruling found, however, that the casino's appearance standards were no more burdensome for women than for men.
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Sidney Thomas backed the reasoning of the plaintiff. "Harrah's fired Jespersen because of her failure to confirm to sex stereotypes, which is discrimination based on sex and is therefore impermissible under Title VII," he wrote.
"The distinction created by the majority opinion leaves men and women in services industries, who are more likely to be subject to policies like the Harrah's 'Personal Best' policy, without the protection that white-collar professionals receive," he wrote.
...what on earth are you talking about?
BTW, how's the first winter in Uffdaville going? ... Understand you had a bit of a cool spell last week.
Skip the make-up, get her a Bart Simpson mask!
I own a bar. My customers (mostly hardworking, blue collar guys who like to have a few pops after work each day) would rather drink poorly made drinks and wait to get them as long as a young lady who looks like a stripper brings them.
My staff has been with me for a long time (mostly moms in their late 30's - 40's) and they are competent, professional, and attractive. I still lose tons of business to places that hire 20 year olds.
What are you going to do...
No one forced anyone to hire her. But to fire her for refusing to wear make up is crazy. She had been working there for 20 years. I'm sure they tried to fire her before going to court about it.
So women should not be able to have short hair? I definitely think that women should not be allowed to have beards! Women with mustaches should be fired if they don't wax it! All waitresses should have to line up in military file before each shift and have a full inspection. This ruling was crazy!
Then Hooters should be able to hire on the basis of the size of a woman's breasts?
Works for me. Sort of goes with the concept of "Hooters", doesn't it?
I see your point and acknowledge it. I, however, believe that hiring and firing should be judged on such things as work ethic, honesty, reliability, precision, devotion, and enthusiasm...not on sex, race, age, or physical appearance. I understand some physical requirements...but if you entered into a contract that did not mention these requirements, you shouldn't be forced out later for them. There should be some kind of tenure or protection after a certain amount of time. This woman had worked there for 20 years! There should be protections from ruthlessness in business, otherwise you could set up retirement for people at 20 years, then make up some crazy reason to fire them at 19! It happens out there.
I am a woman (as you can see by my name), and I have a part-time job which requires me to wear a button-down shirt. I have never, ever worn button-down shirts before having this job, because I don't enjoy dressing like a man. I don't think the company should force me to dress like a man, but that is what they are doing. Even at a local grocery store, the men and women wear the same shirts, and they are men's shirts (i.e., the buttons are on the men's side of the shirt), and I think it is really cruel. If companies want everyone to dress the same, have all employees wear SKIRTS. MEN must have come up with these STUPID ideas, because women sure wouldn't. Oh, and by the way, personally, I LOVE wearing makeup.
Male = XY
Female = XX
Females can be X0 (missing an X).
Men born without one the chromomes do not even get born.
Lesson: Men are men; women are women.
Yes, that is what it comes down to. The company should be CONSIDERATE about dress codes.
Likewise, they should not be forbidden from firing her. A job is not an entitlement.
"But to fire her for refusing to wear make up is crazy. She had been working there for 20 years."
If that is all that there is to it, then I would agree. What is even crazier is the notion that a court has any say in whether a business can choose who it will employ and who it won't. If I am ever a business owner and the government tells me who to hire or fire, I hope that I will be in a sufficiently good financial position to just say "screw it" and close shop.
Hey look, mister, we serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast and we don't need any characters around to give the joint atmosphere. Is that clear, or do I have to slip you my lip for a convincer?
Why the same thing you are talking about ...
how this woman and John F Kerry are entitled to their jobs because they have been working hard for more than 20 years ...
Ah the problem Dr. Watson is that they adjust your sufficiently good financial position to take your money and give it to others.
It's the Democratic Way ...
Being an employee of a company at the moment, I see your point. Having been a business owner in the past, with people working for me, I also see the company's viewpoint, and I get the strong feeling that we don't have all the data here
Companies generally don't lightly fire people, if only because of the effect on morale of the remaining employees. Also, the process of evaluating replacements is costly, so firing somebody who is actually doing her job well is bad for business. The official reason for firing seems unfair, but it may have been the only reason they could come up with that was legally quantifiable, in order to do what they may have wanted to do for a while.
Where I currently work, they recently fired a guy for violating a company policy against coming to work while intoxicated. They wanted to fire him for a while, because he was incompetent. But proving the incompetence of somebody in a highly technical field to a jury of laymen is really hard to do. So they waited until they could nail him, with witnesses, on something else.
I see your point on firing people to screw them out of contracted benefits like pension, but there is no allegation in the story that this was a reason. If it was the reason, and the company displayed a pattern of trying to weasel out of contracted benefit obligations, then I would support nailing management to the wall