A federal appeals
panel has ruled against a lesbian bartender in Nevada
who sued the parent company of Harrah's, upholding the
casino's right to require its female employees to wear
makeup. Darlene Jespersen sued Harrah's Entertainment
when the company fired her in 2000 for refusing to
wear makeup after 21 years as a bartender at Harrah's in
The ninth U.S.
circuit court of appeals' split decision last week found
that Harrah's requirement that women bartenders wear makeup
at its casinos does not amount to sex discrimination.
Lawyers for the casino said the 7-4 ruling
affirms the right of employers to adopt reasonable
dress and grooming standards.
lawyers said the court has opened the door for more
antidiscrimination suits by outlining what must be proved to
establish sex stereotyping through dress codes.
court in San Francisco ruled that Harrah's policy was no
more burdensome on women than on men partly because men were
required to cut their hair while women were not, and
that while women had to wear makeup, men were
prohibited from doing so. Chief judge Mary M. Schroeder
wrote for the court that the "personal best"
grooming policy adopted by Harrah's did not
discriminate against women because it set similar
grooming standards for both sexes and did not perpetuate
Harry Pregerson countered that the makeup requirement
was based on "a cultural assumption--and gender-based
stereotype--that women's faces are incomplete,
unattractive, or unprofessional without full makeup."
represented Jespersen in the case. Senior counsel Jennifer
Pizer said Friday that it was too early to tell if she will
appeal. (Sirius/OutQ News)