Nine Atlantic City cocktail waitresses are suing their employer with the help of Gloria Allred, saying they were forced out for younger women when new, skimpy uniforms were introduced. Do they have a case?
In a recent press conference, Allred said, "Maybe (Resorts owners) think they can profit by using young women as bait to hook in young men to buy drinks, but it's wrong. Women are not just sex objects. They are real human beings."
The plaintiffs, who are in their forties through their sixties, echoed that language. "I was shocked," one said of the "audition" process the new management initiated with a modeling agency. "I couldn't even talk. I don't see how they could just disregard us as women and as human beings."
This lawsuit follows two discrimination complaints filed by 46 other cocktail servers against the same resort, which instituted skimpy flapper costumes.
Here's what the employer has to say for itself:
"Resorts is confident that it has acted in accordance with all legal requirements in its employment decisions," the statement said. "As we indicated before, cocktail servers were given individual consideration and the selection process was conducted in a fair and objective manner. We empathize with the cocktail servers who lost their jobs and gave them hiring preference in other open positions at Resorts. Some took advantage of this offer and some did not."
Above The Law takes the opportunity to rail against older women being cocktail waitresses: "Surely we can live in a society where we can say 66 years old is too old to be a cocktail waitress without risking litigation. Surely I don't have to explain why maybe it's time for the 57-year-old woman to start serving drinks at Bennigan's instead of a casino." But they may have a point when it comes to being a cocktail waitress versus accepting a less front-of-the-house position:
These women....chose to be sex objects because it makes them more money [through tips]. The casino is simply saying that these women aren't allowed to objectify themselves for Resorts' guests anymore. The whole point of being a cocktail waitress in a casino is to be a sex object. Otherwise they'd let them wear clothes!
Details about Allred's legal case are few, but apparently she means to sue on the grounds of age, race, and gender discrimination. She'll run up against whether how these women looked in their uniforms constitutes a "bona fide occupational qualification" — in other words, whether some measure of discrimination was allowed because it was relevant to doing the job, as it does in say, modeling.
Celebrity Attorney Gloria Allred Represents Resorts Cocktail Servers Who Lost Jobs In Flap Over Skimpy Costumes [Press Of Atlantic City]
New Suit Filed Against Resorts Casino Hotel [AP]
Women Are Not Sex Objects. Cocktail Waitresses, On The Other Hand... [Above The Law]