Elder Lifeguard Fired for Refusing to Wear Speedo

August 19, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – A 61-year-old lifeguard is claiming his firing for refusing to wear a Speedo swimsuit is age discrimination.

In 2007, when Roy Lester was told he had to squeeze into a Speedo for the annual swim test, rather than his slightly more modest pair of biking shorts, he refused and lost his job, the New York Daily News reports. Lester had held his job as a Jones Beach lifeguard for four decades.  

Lester sued the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, claiming age discrimination, arguing the Speedo edict was an attempt to rid Jones Beach of its aging lifeguards. “I wore a Speedo when I was in my 20s,” Lester said, according to the Daily News. “But come on. There should be a law prohibiting anyone over the age of 50 from wearing a Speedo.” 

The news report said the former lifeguard union head estimates that more than 80% of Jones Beach lifeguards are older than 40. 

Fellow lifeguards sporting biker shorts to their annual test relented and donned the Speedo. 

Lester’s suit was dismissed on technical grounds in 2008, but last week, in a setback to the state attorney general, an appeals court reinstated his claim.