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NJ Judge Nelson Johnson Rules Cocktail Waitresses Can Be Fired For Gaining Weight

A New Jersey Superior Court judge has ruled that casino waitresses are "sex objects" and can be fired for putting on too much weight. Judge Nelson Johnson issued the ruling after 22 former cocktail servers, known as the "Borgata Babes," filed a suit against the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa alleging weight discrimination. The suit specifically went after the casino’s policy of prohibiting the servers from gaining more than 7 percent of their original body weight.

According to the suit, the waitresses were told to take laxatives before mandatory weigh-ins and asked to stop taking prescription medications.

In his ruling, Johnson wrote that the women knew what they were getting themselves into when they became employees of the Borgata.

“The Borgata Babe program has a sufficient level of trapping and adornments to render its participants akin to ‘sex objects’ to the Borgata’s patrons," Johnson wrote. "Nevertheless, for the individual labeled a babe to become a sex object requires that person’s participation.”

Michigan is the only state that prohibits workplace discrimination based on height or weight, The Huffington Post reported.

“[The Borgata Babes decision was] a horrible ruling,” said Michigan-based disability rights attorney Richard Bernstein. “You have to look at the far-reaching applications of it. You always have to look at a decision with a broad brush. That decision gives employers a tremendous power over people in the workplace.”

Joe Lupo, Borgata’s senior vice president of operations, said the casino was pleased with the ruling.

“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,” Lupo said.

Sources: The Huffington Post, The LA Times


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