The Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa has confidentially settled a sex discrimination lawsuit with a pair of former cocktail waitresses who alleged the casino created a hostile work environment for female employees.
Former staff members Renee Gaud and Trisha Hart filed a $70 million lawsuit against the Borgata in 2006 that challenged a weight policy at the Atlantic City, N.J., casino.
According to the suit obtained by the Press of Atlantic City, Borgata prohibited servers, or "Borgata Babes," from gaining more than 7 percent of their body weight upon hiring. Violators risked suspension or job loss. Management also allegedly encouraged breast augmentation surgery for the female waitstaff.
Gaud claimed Borgata management harassed her after a thyroid condition caused weight fluctuations, leading to her resignation in 2005, the suit said. Hart claimed she was fired after complaining about the weight policy and was later diagnosed with anorexia nervosa.
The suit sought compensatory and punitive damages and back pay for humiliation in a work environment "polluted by rampant sexual stereotypes," where female servers are reportedly made to wear low-cut bustiers, black minidresses and high heels.
While terms of the settlement were not disclosed, Borgata’s weight policies were apparently allowed to stay in place, the Press reported.
Robert McDevitt, president of Local 54 of Unite-Here representing cocktail servers, told the paper the union has filed a grievance against the Borgata policies.
"We think they’re arbitrary and unhealthy," McDevitt said. "We believe that a simple restriction on someone who is a size 0 when hired and has a child later on and becomes a size 4 is unfair. Our question is not the size of the uniform, but is the weight at a healthy level? It doesn’t take that into account, as it should."