Scroll To Top

Appeals court
rules in favor of casino's makeup rule

Appeals court
rules in favor of casino's makeup rule

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 Reno.

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.

But Jespersen's 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.

The appellate 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 sexual stereotypes.

Dissenting judge 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."

Lambda Legal 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)

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Outtraveler Staff