A lawsuit ten years in the making, five former Atlantic City Borgata Casino cocktail waitresses finally have the chance to speak at trial in defense of their gender discrimination claim. In their argument, the christened “Borgata Babes” faced a hostile work environment, in which they were forced to adhere to certain weight requirements. In the event of pregnancies or adverse health conditions, the women were either suspended for their weight gain or were pressured into ceasing medications that contributed to the weight gain. As part of their job, the cocktail waitresses were subjected to routine weigh-ins, and were forbidden to gain more than 7% of their weight from when they started working as a Babe. While some contend that this policy is discriminatory to women, others believe these employees were fully aware of the policies before commencing employment. A jury will be left to decide their fate.
Based on the notion that the Borgata Babes knew the policies beforehand and therefore were cognizant of the nature of the position, the lawsuit was originally dismissed in 2013. This decision was later overturned in 2015, only to be dismissed again in 2016 by the same judge. Due to the improper dismissal based on the same evidence in 2016, the former Borgata Babes will now be granted their time to speak in front of a jury.
Beyond what is stated in the company policies, Borgata executives have been quoted offering advice on how to lose the extra pounds through weight loss goals. Some executives have even encouraged the female employees to not return to work after giving birth. Some plaintiffs in the lawsuit have argued that executives disregarded doctor orders and did not allow medical documentation as an excuse for breaking company policy. While there are no New Jersey laws blatantly preventing companies from setting height and weight guidelines in job descriptions, the way in which the companies handled the weight gain of some female employees is arguably discriminatory.