Judges Uphold Casino's Right to Discipline Waitresses For Gaining Weight

In Depth

Partially overturning a New Jersey Superior Court’s dismissal without trial of a lawsuit against an Atlantic City Casino, judges at a state appeals court ruled on Thursday that the Casino’s controversial weight gain policy for its cocktail servers is legal.

The lawsuit was originally filed on behalf of 22 former cocktail servers at the Borgata Casino, a position officially known as “Borgata Babes” (the sound you just heard was me throwing up in my mouth a little). Some years after the hiring of at least several of the waitresses, Borgata imposed a rule that they would face discipline for gaining “more than 7 percent of their original body weight.”

In the original ruling, Judge Nelson Johnson (lol of course it was a dude, why are you even asking) dismissed the lawsuit without a trial, at one point noting that the waitresses were “akin to ‘sex objects’” because they’d essentially agreed to being treated like crap when they took the job. That was roughly his entire rationale, which, sure, that’s smart, especially if you want to set precedent that it’s totally OK for restaurants to discriminate against their employees on the basis of weight gain.

In a split decision via Press of Atlantic City, the Appellate Court upheld Nelson’s ruling that the rule itself is not inherently discriminatory. Interestingly, though, they also ruled that while the rule itself is legal, 11 of the 21 plaintiffs can go back to the lower court on a claim of “sexual harassment hostile work environment discrimination” as to how the rule was actually enforced—specifically, that it was not applied equally to the men and women hired for the job (apparently, multiple men were hired for the job). I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like a pretty significant hint. Specifically, their decision reads:

“Plaintiffs assert they suffered severe and pervasive discriminatory comments and treatment by supervisors charged with enforcing the … weight standard because they were women, thereby creating a hostile, intimidating and abusive work environment,” the appeals court wrote, before citing specific examples.

In other words “we think there were some shenanigans happening.” Misogynistic shenanigans at a New Jersey casino are so unthinkable, though, I mean, really.

Image via AP.

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