A former waitress sued her strip-club employer after they fired her for being too old. She just settled for $60,000.
According to ABC, Mary Bassi was 56 in 2006, when the general manager of Cover Girls, where she worked, started mocking her with jokes about menopause and Alzheimer's. Then the management allegedly started hiring younger waitresses and giving them Bassi's shift. Finally, Bassi was fired. She sued for age discrimination, and recently received a settlement of $60,000. Her lawyer Connie Wilhite says this is a victory for all women in the adult industry: "It lets them know that they're not just a value because of their youth. They can't be run out of any industry as they get older."
Strip clubs are a pretty complex area for employment law. In a somewhat similar lawsuit last year, a strip club bartender sued her employers after they demoted her to a lower-paid cashier position during her pregnancy. While it's not actually a strip club, Hooters once faced its own lawsuit for refusing to hire male waiters. And in Canada, a 44-year-old stripper sued after she was fired, allegedly because "the club is going in a new direction with younger girls." At issue in many of these cases is the employer's desire to hire and retain staff who fit its definition of hotness. Blogger Jonathan Turley opines that said hotness can be a bona fide occupational qualification — meaning it's necessary for the job at hand and it's legal for an employer to look for it — but the picture's more complicated in Bassi's case. She wasn't actually stripping, and her age wouldn't have prevented her from serving food (in fact, she's now employed at another adult business). Cover Girls, meanwhile, is closed after it burned down last year. Karma?
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