Reno Bartender Sues After Batting the Rouge

June 18, 2003 ( - Refusing to wear makeup is the reason a female bartender says she was dismissed from a Reno, Nevada casino - and now she is suing for sexual discrimination.

Darlene Jespersen in her suit claims the Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. casino in Reno has a discriminatory policy that requires female bartenders, but not their male peers, to wear makeup, This policy ultimately led to her dismissal in 2000 after a 20-year career with the casino, the suit says, according to a Reuters report.

After the case was dismissed in lower court, Jespersen appealed to the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, asking that the case be sent back to the lower court to reconsider its decision.

The Lambda Legal Defense Fund, a gay rights group that is supporting Jespersen’s suit, wrote that forcing female employees to have different standards than men was unlawful under Title VII provisions that prohibit discrimination against race, color, religion, sex or national origin. “Requiring female employees to conform to archaic and burdensome sex-based stereotypes as a condition of their jobs is a violation of Title VII,” the Defense Fund’s brief said.

However, a spokesman for the casino said the establishment has basic appearance standards for its staffers in response to customer expectations but allowed a wide variety of ages and body types. “The district court in Nevada dismissed her case, declaring that we had operated in the proper manner,” spokesman Gary Thompson told Reuters. “We’re confident that the 9th circuit will uphold the district court’s ruling.”