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After being forced to model in skimpy employee uniforms, fifteen middle-aged cocktail waitresses were fired from Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City for not projecting the right image.
In other words, they were no longer sexy enough.
If you don't like the way an employee looks, can you fire her too?
Prior to being fired, the Resorts casino waitresses were asked to take photos in the employee uniforms, which are part of a new, sexier theme at the casino, reports the Associated Press. Each woman was shot from the front, side and back from the neck down.
The women are suing for age and sex discrimination , alleging that the modeling and photography session was a sham--a means to cover up discriminatory intent.
Employers can require employees to adhere to personal grooming standards and a dress code, including employee uniforms. However, whether you can fire unsexy or overweight employees is up for debate.
The issue with skimpy employee uniforms and weight and attractiveness requirements is that they are often discriminatory in effect, even if not in intent.
There's a tendency to apply these criteria only to women, and weight and looks implicate age.
Appearance-based firings and restrictions can also be based on sex stereotyping, which is a form of sex discrimination. Comments invoking stereotypes can also create a hostile work environment.
Even if your state allows you to fire overweight employees (some don't), you can still find yourself in legal trouble. It's therefore important to base your decisions on non-discriminatory, gender and age-neutral criteria. And to hire a lawyer.