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California woman denied job because she doesn’t fit in ‘kilt’

A 20-year-old California woman appeared to be the perfect fit for a job serving at a sports bar northeast of San Diego in Palm Desert. She aced the application and interviews, according to media reports, but was denied the job when she tried on the bar’s uniform.

“Because the skirt was a size too small, they said that I could not work there,” she told a TV station. However, a hole in employment discrimination law might well allow the bar’s owners to keep discriminating on the basis of weight and body type.

Waitresses at the restaurant are classified as entertainers and the company’s mini-kilt outfit is called a costume; the classifications allow Tilted Kilt, and establishments like it, to skirt discrimination laws.

“Tilted Kilt specifically hires females for the role of the Kilt Girl who fit our profile, which includes being attractive, intelligent and having outgoing personalities,” the company insisted in a statement.

Only one state in the nation Michigan has a law prohibiting this type of discrimination. Six cities in the nation also have laws forbidding it: San Francisco and Santa Cruz, here in California, as well as Binghamton, New York; Urbana, Illinois; Madison, Wisconsin; and Washington DC.

Does that mean employers elsewhere can simply impose any weight restrictions they like on employees or job applicants? The answer to that is in the process of being determined.

Some plaintiffs have filed weight discrimination claims under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act); and some of them have been successful.

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) changed some definitions in the ADA; changes that courts might one day use to restrict weight discrimination by employers.

Source: Huffington Post, “Jennifer Rogers, California Woman, Denied Job Because She Couldn’t Fit Into Uniform,” Oct. 12, 2012

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