In a shocking decision that is demeaning to, and frightening for, all women in the workplace, an Atlantic County Superior Court judge has ruled that employers can fire women for gaining weight on the job.
Here are the facts of the case: 22 cocktail waitresses from the popular Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, popularly known as “Borgata Babes,” filed a joint lawsuit against their employer claiming weight discrimination. They say that Borgata Babes are subject to regular weigh-ins and, in order for some of the women to keep their jobs, they are were forced to adapt unhealthy eating and exercise habits. One woman says she had no choice but to stop taking her prescription medicine because one if its side effects is weight gain. Moreover, other women were instructed to take laxatives before their weigh-ins to quickly shed their excess weight. The potential health repercussions that accompany this lifestyle are what provoked the he Babes sued tobecause of the address the clearly offensive and dangerous restrictions that their employers imposed.
By contrast, Borgata claims claims all waitresses are contractually obligated to maintain their weight at the point of hiring, and that Borgata reserves the right to fire any waitress who gains more than seven percent of her body weight.
The judge ruled that because the women were all made aware of their contracts’ conditions before they were hired, their employers has every right to maintain the standards of that contract.
Joe Lupo, who is the senior vice president of operations at Borgata, claims that his company’s policies are neither discriminatory towards women nor unreasonable. Borgata endorses the court’s decision, explaining: “The court noted that our personal appearance standards are fully and openly disclosed to all team members, and that every plaintiff voluntarily accepted them before starting work.”
Indeed, the women were all aware of their contracts’ standards when they were hired, so they too are at fault for subjecting themselves to that work environment. That fact, nevertheless, does not rationalize the behavior that the Babes’ bosses were conducting.
It is unacceptable for an employee to be reprimanded and embarrassed for eating a cookie. It is also unacceptable for an employer to ask a pregnant employee if she is faking her pregnancy as an excuse “to get fat.” Both of these situations happened at Borgata. Although the Babes are contractually obligated to maintain their weight, their contracts still do not condone harassment.
Both parties are guilty in this case for disregarding human dignity. The women should not subject themselves to such low standards, and the Borgata employers should abandon their blatant misogynous biases and have higher standards for their own treatment of others.