Can an employer fire a waitress for gaining weight?
In at least some circumstances, yes. The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, NJ apparently employs “Borgata Babes” as waitresses, and these employees are subject to “weigh ins” to test whether they have gained what the employer deems an unacceptable amount of weight. If they fail their weigh in, they can be (and are) fired. Some waitresses sued, claiming that this requirement constituted discrimination on the basis of gender and weight. The judge ruled that the women had applied for jobs with full knowledge that they were going to be considered “babes” and treated in this manner by their employer. Read the article here.
There are certain classes that are specially protected under state and federal laws, such as race, disability, and gender. Weight is not a protected category, and under the at will employment doctrine, employees can be fired for being too heavy. This could change, however, now that obesity has been recognized as a disease by the American Medical Association and as such could be a protected disability.
What do you think? Should these waitresses be protected against being fired for gaining weight, or did they apply for the job knowing the terms and conditions? Let us know what you think on Facebook and Twitter!