AC Casino Ignites Cocktail Waitress Kerfuffle

My South Jersey Facebook friends have been all aflutter lately with opinions about those Atlantic City cocktail waitresses who were fired by Resorts Casino when newer, sexier uniforms were introduced in the spring. There’s plenty of contention to go around.

Waitressgate started in March, when the Press of Atlantic City reported that 16 Resorts cocktail waitresses were fired after management apparently deemed them too unattractive to wear the casino’s new uniforms (a skimpy 1920s flapper ensemble replete with fishnet stockings and garters). A lawsuit was immediately filed by the union that represents the women—who were between their late 40s and early 60s; in late May, another suit was filed on behalf of nine more women.

I understand the women’s distress. I heard one interviewed on NPR the other day and she said that she had worked at Resorts for more than 15 years, faithfully and dutifully. It just didn’t seem fair, she said, to be cast aside so carelessly based on such superficial parameters. Listening to the genuine sadness in her voice, my empathy receptors went nuts.

“[These women] were fired because they got older, because as beautiful as they are, they didn’t meet someone’s definition of ‘sexy,’” Virginia Hardwick, a New Jersey attorney for the plaintiffs, was quoted in one news story.

Resorts hasn’t had much to say on the matter, save for a press release stating that the casino “acted in accordance with all legal requirements in its employment decisions” and that the cocktail waitress selection process was “conducted in a fair and objective manner.” It seems Resorts’ management feels it should be allowed to dictate the aesthetic of its employees, no matter how unseemly such scrutiny might be.

Reportedly, the women who were let go were offered alternative, less-attractive jobs at lower pay. Perhaps a better option would have been an alternative, less-revealing costume. To kick these women out on the street was clearly the wrong move.

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