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Jespersen v. Harrah's Operating Co.

392 F.3d 1076 (2004)

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Jespersen v. Harrah’s Operating Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

392 F.3d 1076 (2004)

Facts

Darlene Jespersen (plaintiff) was an outstanding bartender at Harrah’s Operating Company’s (Harrah’s) (defendant) casino in Reno, Nevada, for almost 20 years. Jespersen did not like to wear makeup because it made her feel degraded, sexualized, and less effective at dealing with unruly customers. In 2000, Harrah’s implemented its Personal Best policy, which outlined specific grooming and appearance standards for men and women in each employee role. All beverage servers were generally required to be well-groomed, appealing, and keep their bodies toned. Female beverage servers were required to wear their hair down and styled, stockings, nail polish, and makeup. Male beverage servers were required to keep their hair cut above their shirt collars and their fingernails trimmed, and they could not wear ponytails, nail polish, or makeup. Jespersen did not comply with the policy’s makeup requirement. Several months later, Harrah’s told Jespersen that she had 30 days to apply for another position that did not require makeup. Jespersen did not apply for another position, and Harrah’s terminated her. Jespersen exhausted her administrative remedies with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and then she sued Harrah’s in federal court, alleging that Harrah’s makeup requirement constituted disparate treatment based on sex in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The district court granted Harrah’s summary-judgment motion, and Jespersen appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Tashima, J.)

Dissent (Thomas, J.)

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