A 61-year-old Long Island lifeguard was told he'd have to wear "boxers, briefs or board shorts" rather than his preferred, less-revealing swimwear, in order to pass a swim test. Now he's suing for age discrimination.
According to CNN, the new requirement was instituted in 2007, when Roy Lester had already been working as a lifeguard for over 40 years. He typically wore jammers, which end above the knee, because he felt that "as you age you should show less skin." The New York State Parks apparently didn't agree, telling him he'd have to wear the regulation swimwear if he wanted to work. He called the decision a "blatant act of discrimination," and accused the Parks department of "trying to get rid of the older lifeguards."
If the Parks really wanted to get rid of older employees, changing the clothing requirements seems like a very roundabout way to do it. But it's also not clear why Lester's jammers would've hindered him from doing his job. The case is now going to trial after several appeals. Whatever the outcome, Lester's story is a reminder that clothing and uniform issues affect men as well as women, and that the freedom not to show skin can be important enough to go to court over.
Image via titelio/Shutterstock.com