Catbert laughs in the background...

Link o’ Pit

Good grief. Part of a company-wide “objectification of human beings” program, no doubt.

I don’t get what there is to pit. People don’t want to be served by overweight cocktail waitresses that have squeezed into a very unflattering outfit. Casino cocktail waitresses are objectified human beings–they’re supposed to look hot. Also, note that the casino has made an exemption for people who are pregnant or who have a medical condition that’s causing the weight gain.

Getting fired for gaining weight doesn’t mean they’re bad human beings, just that they’re no longer desireable cocktail waitresses (in the same way that an extremely slender person would no longer be desireable as, say, a sumo wrestler).

So you’re complaining that the company these people work for will actually pay for them to go through a weight-loss program and give them free access to the spa? Yeah, I can see how that totally sucks.

Seriously, it’s not like these people are hired for their brains. I think it’s reasonable to expect that your employees maintain the asset for which they were hired. If you were hired for your brain and you started losing the ability to think in the way you needed to, don’t you expect your employer would have to find someone to replace you eventually?

The policy seems to be as flexible and understanding as possible. Exceptions are made for pregnancy and medical conditions, and even if you do gain weight you’re not fired outright - you’re given a paid leave for 90 days and a chance to lose the weight. Seems pretty fair to me.

:: shrugs ::

…I hire my cocktail staff for their brains, saves me a lot of money in the long run. As far as I’m concerned, businesses can hire and fire who they like. I just think that the Casino is being extremely short sighted, sending the wrong message to people about weight and self-image, and seems to be about as unflexible and not-understanding as you could possibly be.

meh. it ain’t right, but they can do as they wish. And honestly, you can’t protect EVERYONE.

The only thing that leapt out at me in the article was that they establish your “base weight” when you’re hired and you can’t gain more than 7% of that…but if you were seriously underweight when you were hired, you’re screwed if you gain up to a healthy weight.

The example woman they gave in the article was 6’ tall and weighed 138, 13 more than she did was she was hired. According to the generally accepted Met Life Height/Weight table (please don’t debate the veracity of the table here), 138 is the absolute low end for a small-framed woman who’s 6’ tall. Depending on frame size, healthy weights for a 6’ tall woman range from 138-179 lbs.

So, according to the standard accepted weight tables, this woman was 13 pounds underweight when she was hired, yet she’s being put on suspension for being “fat” now that she’s gained up to a perfectly normal weight.

I agree with the concept in principle…these women were hired for how they look. I think the “base weight + 7%” guideline is faulty, though. It seems like something more reasonable, such as staying withing guidelines for your height, or maintaining a certain body fat percentage, would serve everyone better than the wholly arbitrary method they’re using now.

If the Hooters casino mgmt were “as unflexible and not-understanding as they could possibly be,” they wouldn’t have the exemptions for medical conditions and a spa and all that. They also wouldn’t have a 7% weightgain limit, they would have a 1% weight gain limit. I mean, if you just want to be accurate, you would have to say they are being “rather inflexible,” but they are clearly not absolutely inflexible since it is easy to project how they could be less flexible.

You did read the article, right? This is a “Hooters” like casino where the babes are hired because they are babes, and are even called babes in their job description. It’s not the Casino’s intention to send the “right” message about weight and self-image, it’s their intention to make money by luring people into the casino with sexy wait staff so they’ll blow money at the tables. Ergo QED and thus, they have babes as wait staff. If they hired people for their brains instead of their appearance their whole marketing angle is gone.

Now, if there is one pittable offense it’s simply the 7% rule. Rather than say people can’t gain 7% more than when they started, they should look at BMI or something. Some women will be underweight when they start, and it’s stupid to make them maintain an unhealthy weight. For that matter, they could have a more general policy of their servers maintaining an attractive and sexy appearance, of which being more or less the right weight for their height and with obvious respects to their musculature, but also covering things like skin and hair and so on. Since you are sort of in the modeling business when you take a job like this, it’s only natural that you’d be expected to remain healthy looking and attractive.

If they are hired from the get-go based on looks to attract customers, and that’s no secret, I have no problem with this.

Wasn’t there a lawsuit against Hooters about pretty much the same thing, and it was determined that if the looks of the employee are pertinent to the position, then there’s no protection against being let go based on looks? I thought this issue was pretty much settled, legally.

That part that gets me is that somehow this policy is going to cause eating disorders. Eating disorders are complex psychological issues and to claim that they can be caused simply by a change in corporate policy is wrong.

Hooters also was sued for all kinds of really disgusting sexual harassment, and I would think such harassment is inevitable given the environment of “Dining in Playboy Magazine” they are trying to project. You get into a pretty murky issue when you get into the Hooters lawsuits, because you have to start using language about what the waitresses should expect and tolerate given that they’re basically hired to run around in underwear and stick their tits in people’s faces. It probably happens at the casino, too.

I have to think it’s brilliant to keep everyone completely addled by t&a when they’re gambling. Evil, but legal, and brilliant.

I agree totally that women should not be held to maintain an unhealthy weight. In the article they state in their hiring criteria that women should have “natural hourglass figures”. Now, I could be wrong but I have seen very few underweight women with a natural hourglass figure. I think they tend to hire women who are more on the buxom side to start out with, if the pictures in the link are any indication. I see no problem with them wanting these women to at least maintain the image they got the job with.

The woman they interviewed sounded pretty underweight to start with, and (as has been mentioned) would actually be fired for getting up to a healthy weight. Whether she’s the exception or the rule, but it shows why the policy is dumb as it is written.

…absolutely I read the article. I stated that the casino can hire and fire who they like. Is it the casino’s intention to send the right message about weight and body image? Of course not. Does that mean the casino isn’t sending out the wrong message? You consider 7% flexible? Understanding? As pointed out by Jadis, if someone is underweight by their policy, bringing themselves to the norm would violate the policy.

The question you need to ask is, are these cocktail servers asked to act like models, or models asked to act like cocktail servers? I’ve never hired a cocktail server based on looks or size-however I could imagine that if I was in the business of hiring models to hand out drinks, then looks would probably pay a larger part of the equation. The people involved in the article appear to be covered by the Cocktail Servers union, which to me implies they are in the hospitality trade, not the modeling business. Mybe this is a Kiwi/American thing, but don’t workers in the hospitality trade have basic rights against discrimination based on looks, gender and weight?

You said they couldn’t be less flexible, and I pointed out that they could, indeed, be less flexible. Six percent is less flexible than seven. It’s simple math. I said that “rather inflexible,” would be perfectly fair. I also completely agreed with Jadis and said they should go by a healthy weight rather than a starting weight.

I don’t know at what point you’ll realize that what you do at your bar is irrelevent. People are going to your bar to get potted. You aren’t marketing your wait staff. If you were, you’d want them to be sexy.

As for the legal aspects, I think it’s been alluded to that there’s a Hooters precedent where if an establishment chooses to make looks a condition of employment, they can, at least in the US. The union can complain, of course. That’s why they are there.

…I’m not marketing my wait staff? You’ve lost me there my friend. Please explain why I would want my staff to be “sexy”, when you don’t have the faintest clue about my businesses marketing plan, our targeted demographic, etc… if you like, feel free to step into my shoes and hire all the “sexy” staff you like, and lets see how long you stay in business, eh?

I’m only saying that your business has nothing to do with their business. You run your bar differently than they run their casino. I’m not telling you you should run your business the way they run their casino, I’m saying that as a matter of fact, they don’t run their casino the way you run your bar and that your allusions to your bar are irrelevent. You’re just so completely missing the point.

I’m sorry your lost when you tell me that you don’t run your bar the way they run their casino, and I say, “Well, you don’t run your bar the way they run their casino.” I’m not sure where you got lost, but I’m sure with study and reflection eventually you’ll see the connection.

Did I say you should want your staff to be “sexy” or make any assumptions about your business beyond those provided by you?

Say the discussion was about small private colleges and I came in with my wisdom and expertise having spent 20 years working for public universities. You would be perfectly entitled to tell me that my experience has no relevence to a different case, and I would be out of line to get all snippy if you did make that point. It’s nothing to do with my ability to do what I do, it’s merely about the aptness of presuming that what I do is an appropriate measure for someone in a quite different situation. Do you see?

No.

Can you hire a porn actor based on looks? Yes.
Can you hire a nurse based on looks? No.

You might not like these. I wish I could be hired as a porn actress, but unfortunately I’m male, and not spectacularly good looking. But I think you have to accept them.

But in the middle ground, there’s doubt. A wrestler? A secretary? A shop assistant? A hooter’s waitress? A cocktail ‘babe’? An actor? Hence the ruckus.

BTW requiring under a decent weight is (a) stupid and (b) pit-worthy.

Well, my first comment on this thread is that you can’t possibly know all the facts from just one media article.

Anyhow - looks like these “Borgata Babes” do a weigh-in either now, or (going forward) at hire, and that, not a BMI or height-weight chart, is their “base”. Huh. So if you’re a little above the ideal at hire, you’re still hired and have a job as long as you don’t go more than 7% over your hire weight.

You know, given that these women must be outfitted with costumes that have to fit pretty well, there would be considerable tailoring costs involved in having them gain and lose weight on a regular basis.

Is this explained up front? Then maybe underweight women or women with eating disorders shouldn’t apply for this job. Or get a medical statement that they were underweight - that would qualify as a medical condition, wouldn’t it? And these folks are allowing exceptions for medical conditions and pregnancy.

I’ve managed to maintain my weight within a 5 lbs range for over 20 years, and that’s without my employment being dependent on it. This is within the capability of the overwhelming majority of adult human beings, particularly if their jobs require them to be on their feet and moving 8 hours a day.

Go a couple pounds over your 7% limit? 90 days should be more than sufficient to lose 5 lbs and come back under the weight limit.

There is no indication here that they’re setting draconian weight limits here. I’ve seen pictures and video of Borgata Babes before… these are not “sticks”, they range from slim to full-figured women. I see nothing out of line with them being required to maintain a healthy weight. While the looks are important, the fact they are on their feet and moving during work is another important factor. Excess weight would only contribute to fatigue and wear and tear on their joints like their knees and ankles.

Of course, “Employer imposes reasonable weight limits, fires those who refuse to comply” doesn’t make as snazzy a headline.

In sum, I’m not certain there’s really an issue here. Or that the employer is being unreasonable. The mere fact a woman who is six foot tall and 138 lbs is complaining is not sufficient evidence - she is already clearly outside the norm and you have to wonder just why she is so damn underweight.