It appears employers in the food and beverage industry are becoming less tolerant over employees gaining too much weight — especially for cocktail waitresses.
And in addition to employers, now even countries discriminate against weight gain, as a New Zealand chef discovered when he was told he faces deportation for being too fat.
In our first story, twenty-two cocktail servers known as “Borgata Babes” objected to the weight policy their Atlantic City casino employers established, claiming the casino only attempted to enforce it on female servers.
The policy prohibited the cocktail servers from gaining more than 7 percent of their original body weight.
So the “Borgata Babes,” whose dress code included miniskirts, cleavage-baring bustiers, black tights and high heels, sued Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, and accused Borgata of creating a culture of humiliation and harassment.
According to court documents, some women claimed they were told to take laxatives prior to mandatory weigh-ins or directed to stop taking prescription medications that cause weight gain.
Despite these claims, Superior Court Judge Nelson Johnson granted a judgment in favor of the casino.
Reporting for the Press of Atlantic City, Jennifer Bogdan notes Judge Johnson focused on the hiring process the women endured, which he said made it clear the positions were meant to be part entertainer and part cocktail server.
All of the women involved in the case later signed statements agreeing to the weight policy, which the judge described as lawful and reasonable.
“The Borgata Babe program has a sufficient level of trapping and adornments to render its participants akin to sex objects’ to the Borgata’s patrons. Nevertheless, for the individual labeled a babe to become a sex object requires that person’s participation.”Johnson wrote.
“Plaintiffs cannot shed the label babe; they embraced it when they went to work for the Borgata”
Bogdan explains that initially, hiring letters informed the servers they were to appear “physically fit”with their weight proportionate to their height.
“But that standard proved difficult to enforce and by 2005, Borgata enacted the controversial weight requirements, banning the servers from gaining more than 7 percent of their body weight. Court documents state that the casino equated that percentage to the change in one clothing size.”
Women weighing 130 pounds, for example, could not gain more than 9.1 pounds. And the women were subject to periodic weigh-ins subject to suspension if they failed to meet the requirements.
Court documents stated that exceptions were made for medical conditions, and women returning to work from a pregnancy had six to nine months to meet the weight requirements.
This isn’t the first time Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has been sued over their weight policy.
“In 2006, former Borgata Babes Renee Gaud and Trisha Hart brought a $70 million lawsuit against the casino over the same policy. Their case ended quietly with a confidential settlement two years later.”
But the judge in this case acknowledged that Borgata’s policies are degrading. “From the court’s perspective, the term babe’ is at best undignified and at worst degrading,”Johnson wrote.
“Regardless, there are people in our society who view babe’ as playful flattery … To the chagrin of those in our society hoping to leave sexual stereotypes behind, some of those people are female. And some of those people may be among the plaintiffs”
South African Chef Faces Deportation For Being too Fat
We move now from Atlantic City cocktail waitresses to a South African chef, Albert Buitenhuis, who has been told he is too fat to live in New Zealand. Chef Buitenhuis and his wife, Marthie, have both been forced to stop working and now face deportation.
Marthie said: “We applied for [them] year after year and there were no issues. They never mentioned Albert’s weight or his health once and he was a lot heavier then.
“The irony is that at the moment he weighs less than he [did] when we first arrived in New Zealand and also less than in his first medical, which was accepted by INZ,” reports News 24.
According to the Huffinton Post, New Zealand authorities said the visa had been turned down because of the “significant risk” of complications such as diabetes, hypertension heart disease.
A spokesman said: “It is important that all migrants have an acceptable standard of health to minimise costs and demands on New Zealand’s health services.”
The couple have lodged an appeal.