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NY Lifeguard Fired for Refusing to Wear Speedo

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 19, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Sixty-one year old Roy Lester, a fired lifeguard, says a Speedo swimsuit ended his career.

The Long Island native says he was forced out of his job as a lifeguard at Jones Beach because he refused to don a skimpy Speedo during his annual swim test.

Why did he refuse? Well, Lester himself probably put it the best when he said that "there should be a law prohibiting anyone over the age of 50 from wearing a Speedo," the New York Daily News reports.

Can members of the beach-going public really disagree with that sentiment?

Lester has now filed suit against the state, claiming that his firing amounts to age discrimination.

Under federal law, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of age. One of the most well-known federal laws prohibiting age discrimination is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or ADEA.

The ADEA only applies to those employees or applicants who are over the age of 40. Because Lester is 61, the ADEA would apply to him.

In order to prove age discrimination, Lester will have to show that adverse action was taken against him on the basis of his age. So, he will have to prove that he was fired because of his age and not for some other reason.

Lester claims that the Speedo policy was put in place in order to get rid of the older lifeguards. Around 80% of Jones Beach lifeguards are over 40, reports the New York Daily News.

The state may be able to argue that Roy Lester was flagrantly going against the swim test regulations, which ultimately led to his dismissal. Essentially, they might have to show that the reason behind the termination of the fired lifeguard was the Speedo-insubordination. And, that the policy for wearing Speedos was not spurred by the desire to eliminate aging lifeguards.

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