Jespersen vs. Harrahs Case Analysis

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Darlene Jespersen, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Harrah’s Operating Company, INC., Defendant-Appellee United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
April 14, 2006
Facts: Darlene Jespersen was a bartender at Harrah’s Casino in Reno in the sports bar. She was frequently praised by her supervisors and customers for being an outstanding employee. When Jespersen first started her job at Harrah’s the female bartenders were not required to wear makeup but were encouraged to. Jespersen tried to wear makeup to work a few times but decided that she did not like it due to the fact it made her feel sick, degraded, exposed and violated. She also believed that it interfered with her ability to deal with unruly customers because it “took away [her] credibility as an individual and as a person.” After 20 years of working for the company, Harrah’s implemented the “Personal Best” program contained certain appearance standards that applied equally to men and women. Women were now required to wear makeup and when Jespersen refused, she was fired. Jespersen sued Harrah’s under Title VII. Argument for Jespersen: Jespersen refused to wear makeup to work because the cost-in time, money and personal dignity. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 employers are free to adopt different appearance standards for each sex, but these standards may not impose a greater burden on one sex than the other. Women were required to wear makeup and men were not which allowed men to save hundreds of dollars and hours of time. Harrah’s had no right to fire Jespersen because the rule only applied to women. Argument for Harrah’s: Employers are allowed to impose different appearance rules on women than men as long as the overall burden upon the employees is the same. Harrah’s rules did not impose a heavier burden on women than on men. Outcome: Jespersen appealed the judgment of the United States District Court for District of Nevada granting defendant employer summary judgment in the...
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