Well this sort of tips the scales of justice. The New Jersey Appeals Court hast just ruled that casinos in the state can discriminate based on a person’s weight. Yup, you’re reading this right. If a casino thinks you’re overweight, they can let you go from your job. I’m not even making this up.
Apparently, Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City has an appearance standards policy in place. Back in 2013 a group of waitresses took Borgata to court, arguing that the casino views them as sex objects. Part of their complaint included the fact that casinos required that waitressed weigh in on a regular basis: If they gained more than 7 percent of their weight, which was tallied when they were first hired, they were suspended.
That caused the group of waitresses to go to court. Their original case was tossed out and the appeals court this week upheld the decision. The court did, however, rule that 11 of the waitresses are able to sue over how management enforces their appearance policy.
So, in a nutshell, the policy is OK, but the way the policy was enforced might not have been. The waitresses who felt they were treated like sex objects could go back and sue for discrimination yet again.
This case has got a lot of us at the Silver Oak Casino office talking. Obviously, we don’t have cocktail waitresses on our staff. We do have real live dealers when you play at our live dealer casinos, but we don’t have a set policy that dictates their appearance.
However, when we go to Vegas or Atlantic City, we expect a certain style of cocktail waitress. And that style varies from casino to casino. In many cases, cocktail waitresses aren’t just ladies who walk around serving drinks. They are part of the casino atmosphere and must often fit into the theme that the casino is trying to promote.
Different casinos attract different types of gamblers. They vary by age, socio-economic class, and demographic. So what’s wrong with a casino trying to make their customers happy by appealing to them in any way possible?
It should be noted that everyone in the lawsuit knew about the appearance policy when they signed on the dotted line. The weigh-ins, though surprising to you and me, were anything but a surprise to the Borgata cocktail waitresses. They knew that this would be the case going in. Perhaps it wasn’t enforced properly, but the policy was clear from the start.
At the same time, a policy like this does seem a tad chauvinistic. Hopefully the cocktail waitresses are treated like costumed entertainers and enjoy great benefits. To be told you need to weigh in and to work for minimum wage, relying on tips? That’s a bit questionable in my view.
What do you think? Is an appearance policy that dictates a person’s weight a healthy part of anyone’s employment? Or do we need to rethink the way we approach policies like this? Sound off and let us know your thoughts on this issue. We’d love to hear about it.