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.
Hey, any gall who has been serving cocktails in the smoky Reno casinos for 20 years probably needs more than a little makeup. Any pics available??
Can women write off the cost of makeup if the job requires it?
Now there's a real shocker.... NOT
It is absurd that this case ever made it into court. Employers cannot hire and fire other Americans as they see fit? The government must approve of it? I'm glad that the judicial system was so gracious on this occasion.
If I was a cocktail waitress I'd want to look my best. More TIPS!!!
lol... strange days. me thinks she should be able to work w/o make up... however, she MUST be clothed.
Companies should be able to hire/fire based on their preferences. That is the benefit of being privately owned. Forcing them to keep this employee on their payroll when she is not conforming to their standards would be just as bad as being forced to hire someone who did not portray the image that they wanted (ie visible piercings/tattoos/strange hair colors, etc.).
"If I was a cocktail waitress I'd want to look my best. More TIPS!!!"
Well, she was a bartender, not a cocktail waitress. Reading is fundamental.
The title said waitress. I can read, and no doubt you've NEVER EVER made a mistake right? I thought so. If a woman wants more tips she has to look good so my statement still stands.
I suppose it is the same as enforcing a dress code for employees and I think employers should be able to enforce that.
It's just too bad that a (as far as we know) good employee is lost over this.
The fact that the courts think they can determine a company's ways of hiring and firing is the bottom line here.
Private ownership means squat when it comes to affirmative action.
Yes, the article states that she was a bartender........however......................check out the title. Waitress. Confusing.