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Woman fired for not wearing lipstick
A court will hear the discrimination lawsuit of an employee who says lack of makeup cost her a job.
May 17, 2005: 11:19 AM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A federal appeals court agreed on Friday to reconsider the case of a bartender who was fired from her job at a Nevada casino for refusing to wear lipstick, blush and other make-up.

Alleging sex discrimination, Darlene Jespersen sued her employer, Harrah's Entertainment Inc., after it dismissed her in 2000 for refusing to comply with a policy that required women to wear makeup.

In December, Jespersen's case was dismissed by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the policy was legal. Without comment, the court reversed the ruling on Friday and ordered the case to be reheard by an 11-judge panel.

Jespersen's attorney said the case of the 20-year Harrah's veteran could determine the rights of women in service professions to choose how to present themselves.

"What makes it discriminatory is that it requires women to present themselves in a particularly feminine way," said the attorney, Jennifer Pizer of Lambda Legal in Los Angeles.

Jespersen started work at Harrah's in 1979 as a dishwasher before being promoted to work as a bartender helper and then as a full bartender. Jespersen felt deeply uncomfortable wearing the foundation, lip stick, blush and mascara that her employer required, her attorney said.

Harrah's implemented a mandatory policy that it called "Beverage Department Image Transformation," which required, among other things, that women wear makeup. After refusing to comply with the policy, Jespersen was fired in 2000.


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