Appeals panel upholds casino's 'Borgata Babes' weight restrictions; lets bias claims advance

Associated Press

An appeals panel has upheld the Borgata casino's policy of regulating how much its cocktail waitresses can weigh.

In a ruling issued Thursday, the court said the casino's personal appearance standards are lawful. But it also said part of a lawsuit brought by 21 servers should be returned to a lower court to determine if the women were subjected to a hostile work environment regarding how casino managers enforced those standards.

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The casino says it's pleased that its policy was upheld, noting it was disclosed and agreed to by all female and male "costumed beverage servers" when they were hired.

"This is a significant victory for Borgata," said Joe Corbo, the casino's vice president and legal counsel. "We have long held that Borgata's personal appearance policy is fair and reasonable. We are pleased that the three appellate court judges agreed with prior rulings that our policy is lawful and non-discriminatory to women. As the court noted in its ruling, Borgata's policy was fully and openly disclosed to all costumed beverage servers, male and female, and all of the litigants voluntarily accepted this policy before they began working for us."

The ruling overturned part of a 2013 lower court decision throwing out the lawsuit by former and current cocktail servers.

The Borgata babes are an integral part of the casino's brand and marketing. The servers wear tight fitting corsets, high heels and stockings. The casino even produces a Borgata Babes calendar that is one of its top-selling items each year.

The casino says it has fired two Borgata Babes over the years for violating the policy, which prohibits servers from gaining or losing more than 7 percent of their body weight. One was fired for gaining too much weight; one was let go for losing too much. But neither of those servers was part of the recent lawsuit.

An attorney representing the servers wasn't immediately available to comment on the decision.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC