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No Makeup, No Job, Court Rules
A woman who was fired from her job for refusing to wear makeup was not treated unfairly a U.S. federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday.
No Makeup No Job Court Rules
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: December 28, 2004 8:19 pm ET
(San Francisco, California) A woman who was fired from her job for refusing to wear makeup was not treated unfairly a U.S. federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday.
In August 2000, Darlene Jespersen was fired from her position as a bartender at Harrah's Casino in Reno, Nevada, after the company enacted a new dress code, called the "Personal Best" program, requiring all women in the beverage department to wear makeup, specified as foundation or powder, blush, lipstick and mascara, applied precisely the same way every day to match a photograph held by the supervisor.
The only requirement for men is that they not wear any makeup of any kind.
Jespersen had worked for Harrah's or 20 years.
Following her dismissal she filed a federal civil rights suit with the help of Lambda Legal.
In 2002 a federal judge ruled against Jesperson, saying Harrah's appearance standards do not discriminate against women.
Lambda appealed arguing that federal civil rights laws protect employees from being subjected to dress codes or other standards that impose unequal burdens on men and women.
In its 2-1 ruling today, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court ruling.
"We have previously held that grooming and appearance standards that apply differently to women and men do not constitute discrimination on the basis of sex," Judge Wallace Tashima wrote for the majority, citing a 1974 precedent in which the court ruled that a company can require men to have short hair but allow long hair on women.
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Sidney Thomas agreed with Lambda's argument. "Harrah's fired Jespersen because of her failure to confirm to sex stereotypes, which is discrimination based on sex and is therefore impermissible under Title VII," he wrote.
"We are surprised and deeply disappointed by today's decision, which misapplies key legal precedents that have protected working women for many years," said Lambda Senior Counsel Jennifer C. Pizer/
"Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act requires the protection of women from burdensome sex stereotypes. But today's decision makes those protections hollow because it says women -- including our client Darlene Jespersen -- cannot even seek fairness with a day in court to explain how sex-based employment rules impact them in real life."