A New Jersey appeals court upheld an Atlantic City casino's right to discipline cocktail servers for gaining weight, among other exacting beauty standards, in a ruling on Thursday. The ruling is the latest blow to the 21 servers' legal battle that began in 2008 against the Borgata's appearance requirements. A three-judge panel found that so-called "Borgata Babes," whose ranks include some men, know what they're getting into when they apply.
According to the Press of Atlantic City:
“They’re beautiful. They’re charming. And they’re bringing drinks,” the decision quoted part of the casino’s pitch in hiring workers to live up to that title.
“She moves toward you like a movie star, her smile melting the ice in your bourbon and water. His ice blue eyes set the olive in your friend’s martini spinning. You forget your own name. She kindly remembers it for you,” Borgata’s description of the ideal candidate goes on, before later posing a question of prospective workers: “Are you a babe?”
Among the casino's appearance rules is that the servers cannot gain more than 7 percent of their body weight at hiring without facing repercussions. At the time of the lawsuit, female servers outnumbered males 646 to 46, and the men faced none of the same abuse for such infractions as eating cookies and taking medication that causes weight gain, according to the suit. The appeal judges kicked the sexual harassment portion of the lawsuit back to a lower court to be considered again.
"This is a significant victory for Borgata," said Joe Corbo, vice president and legal counsel for the casino, in a statement. "We have long held that Borgata's personal appearance policy is fair and reasonable. We are pleased that the three appellate court judges agreed with prior rulings that our policy is lawful and non-discriminatory to women."