New Jersey court upholds Borgata’s weight discrimination policy
A New Jersey appeals court ruled on Thursday that the Borgata casino can legally enforce their personal appearance standards by firing employees that gain or lose more than seven percent of their body weight.
The lawsuit was brought up against the casino in 2013 by 21 Borgata servers that claimed they were working in a hostile environment as a direct result of the personal appearance policy. The plaintiffs told their lawyer, Deborah Mains, that their supervisors would openly mock them for their weight. Although the appeals court ruled in favor of the casino’s policy, they decided the lawsuit can once again go through the lower courts to see if the servers were mistreated on the job. Why is the casino allowed to regulate the weight of their employees?
Federal discrimination laws don’t protect U.S. employees from being terminated for their weight. In most cases, a company can legally fire someone for being over or under a certain weight if it’s affecting the employee’s job performance or the company’s image.
The Atlantic City casino fired two of their Borgata servers in the past for violating the company’s personal appearance standards by altering their weight by over 7 percent. The Borgata’s policy is likely in place because they use their servers as a marketing tactic to bring in customers. In recent years, they have sold calendars featuring their waitresses, and have labeled these women as “Borgata Babes.”
“Sexual objectification has been institutionalized and is being allowed to stand,” said Mains. “It’s difficult to separate the harassment claims that the court is recognizing from the overall theory that the working environment is hostile because of the personal appearance standards.”
Should it be illegal to fire someone for their weight? Why isn’t a person’s weight protected under federal law like race or religion is protected? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @Karbowski_Devon.