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Thursday, December 30, 2004


Beverage Department Image Transformation Initiative, Breasts, Tammy Faye Bakker, Jessica Hahn, and Jerry Falwell
From CNN, reported elsewhere:


A female bartender who refused to wear makeup at a Reno, Nevada, casino was not unfairly dismissed from her job, a U.S. federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Darlene Jespersen, who had worked for nearly 20 years at a Harrah's Entertainment Inc casino bar in Reno, Nevada, objected to the company's revised policy that required female bartenders, but not men, to wear makeup.

A previously much-praised employee, Jespersen was fired in 2000 after the firm instituted a "Beverage Department Image Transformation" program and she sued, alleging sex discrimination.

In a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling in favor of Harrah's....

"We have previously held that grooming and appearance standards that apply differently to women and men do not constitute discrimination on the basis of sex," Judge Wallace Tashima wrote for the majority.

He cited the precedent of a 1974 case in which the court ruled that a company can require men to have short hair but allow long hair on women....

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Sidney Thomas backed the reasoning of the plaintiff. "Harrah's fired Jespersen because of her failure to conform to sex stereotypes, which is discrimination based on sex and is therefore impermissible under Title VII," he wrote.

"The distinction created by the majority opinion leaves men and women in services industries, who are more likely to be subject to policies like the Harrah's 'Personal Best' policy, without the protection that white-collar professionals receive," he wrote.



The Progressive has previously reported on this policy. It's more than just wearing makeup:


From the on-line edition of the Chicago Tribune on the new "mandatory makeover" policy for female cocktail waitresses at Harrah's Casino in Joliet, Illinois: "Unprecedented new appearance standards are part of the Las Vegas-based company's Beverage Department Image Transformation Initiative, a program officials say is needed as an antidote to the anything-goes attitude of the nineties. It goes so far as to say a woman who gives birth is expected to fit into her old uniform by the time the baby is twelve weeks old."


Obviously the Las Vegas Sun has also covered the issue:


Harrah's Entertainment Inc. of Las Vegas calls it a gift to employees.

The Culinary Union see it as a heavy-handed, Big Brother-like violation of employees' personal choice.

At issue is Harrah's new Beverage Department Image Transformation Initiative, a program requiring some employees to maintain personal appearance standards.

Under the program, the gaming giant's beverage employees -- mainly cocktail servers and bartenders -- will be required to maintain appearance standards established during company-sponsored personal improvement clinics and makeover sessions.

Harrah's spokesman Gary Thompson said the move to standardize employees' appearances is a necessary ingredient in the company's efforts to establish consistency at its properties nationwide.

"We've acquired a number of properties over the last few years, and we see this effort as an important step in branding ourselves as a corporation," said Thompson.

"We want to make sure our customers can expect a consistent level and quality of service at all of our properties."

The makeover initiative will be gradually rolled out to 15 Harrah's-branded properties; the Rio Suites hotel-casino is not currently included in the program, although the initiative may eventually include Harrah's Showboat-brand casinos.

The program establishes "personal best" appearance guidelines for each beverage department employee, and requires them to maintain those standards for the duration of their employment....

D. Taylor, staff director for Las Vegas' Culinary Workers Local 226, criticized the program, labelling it "intrusive and an invasion of individual choice."

"The idea that the company thinks it can impose an image is outrageous," he said. "Their new corporate (image) policy is tantamount to saying working mothers need not apply."

Taylor strongly objected to a requirement in the program that women returning from 12-week maternity leave fit into their old uniforms.

"Under our union contract, women would have 18 months maternity leave," he said.

"We would hope the company would consider changing this policy before they bring it to Las Vegas."...

The projected cost of the makeover initiative is expected to be about $3,000 per employee. Included in that cost will be uniforms and personalized image consulting advice for each employee.

Thompson likened the standardized appearance requirements to those found in the fast food industry.

"It's not unlike (the consistency) you would expect at McDonald's," he said. "You wouldn't want burgers and fries served to you by somebody who hasn't washed in weeks."

Taylor disagreed with the analogy.

"People are individuals, not McDonald's hamburgers," he said. "We expect our members to be treated as the individual employees that they are."...

Marden said about one month before she -- along with a cadre of freelance clinicians and makeup consultants -- arrive at a property, beverage managers provide written outlines of the program to their employees.

"When we begin, we hold personal clinics and image sessions that go beyond just things like makeup," she said.

"For men, we offer men's grooming clinics that look at issues such as hairstyling and maintaining proper care of their nails and hands."

Image guidelines for male beverage employees also deal with topics such as facial hair and proper footwear.

All told, beverage employees receive between four to six hours of image consultation.

A "personal best" photo is taken upon completion of the program; supervisors monitor employees progress after the program is over.

However, the self-improvement initiative doesn't end with completion of the consultation process.

"Every quarter after completion of the program, (beverage) employees at each property are required to choose a personal development topic to help them with their self-improvement," said Marden....



So, it's been four years since this wonderful program was launched by the management team at Harrah's:



Gary Loveman, President/CEO



Tom Jenkin, President, Western Division



Rich Mirman, Senior Vice President of Business Development



Ginny Shanks, Senior Vice President of Acquisition Marketing



Jan Jones, Senior Vice President, Communications & Government Relations (We'll meet her again a little later.)

And here's one of the performers at Harrah's Las Vegas casino:



Mac King, The Mac King Comedy Magic Show

So, people are probably wondering what Darlene Jespersen looks like, whether she has huge moles on her head, etc. Here is what former beverage dispenser Darlene Jespersen looks like (at least this is what she looked like four years ago):



While the Nevada labor website that published these photos has an obvious anti-Ronald Raygun bias, it does have some valid points:


For 21 years, Darlene Jespersen worked hard for Harrah's-Reno. Then came the new, ironically named "Personal Best" program. Jesperson's best was not good enough and she was fired.

Her crime? Refusal to paint herself up like a whore....

Darlene Jespersen was flown to Las Vegas for a live appearance on "CBS This Morning."

Speaking for Harrah's was none other than former Las Vegas Mayor and current VP in Charge of Looking Out the Window Jan Laverty Jones Scheutz.

The gambling-industrial complex has adopted the public relations strategy of big tobacco. Hire a pleasant-looking, smiling woman to put a pretty face on your gruesome, exploitive business.

Notwithstanding a political career promoting herself as defender of women's rights, the two-time Democratic gubernatorial candidate disgraced herself.

First and foremost, she baldfacedly asserted that "over 74 positions" were available to Jespersen which paid the same but did not require makeup.

Jespersen twice refuted her, stating "I was reassigned back to personnel. I had 30 days to find another job. For those 30 days, I was not being paid. None (of the jobs) would support me and makeup would be an issue again," she politely noted....

Earlier, she observed "if I were a man, this would be a non-issue."

Indeed, male employees are forbidden from wearing makeup in the new policy.

The Personal Best policy is cruel and unusual. Once you're photographed after your Miss Muffin Makeover, you are expected to remain that way the rest of your life. Your work clothes sizes can only be altered if you've had a boob job. (Ironically, actress Mariel Hemingway underwent breast implantation surgery before starring in a movie entitled "Personal Best.")...

I've not only met Darlene Jespersen, I've seen her Personal Best makeover photos. She's a polite and attractive woman. The pictures are quite flattering....

Supposedly setting the standard she is supposed to meet forevermore, she wears no makeup in those photos. You'd never know it. Her natural coloring is fine, her eyelashes and eyebrows need no enhancement.

Alas, in the Jan Jones world, successful women wear makeup....

Period.

About a decade ago, Ms. Magazine stopped accepting advertising when Revlon backed out of a major commitment after years of sales effort to accommodate the cosmetics giant.

The reason for Revlon's reluctance: a cover photo promoting a story about the innovative young female doctors of the new Russia. The four featured MD's were wearing no makeup. Unacceptable. Successful women wear makeup, dammit. (Most physicians in Russia are women.)

Ms. lost the ads. Darlene Jespersen lost her job. Jan Jones sold her soul.

Jespersen's looking for a lawyer to make good her damages. I don't know where Jones can go to redeem herself.



Wasn't it the Billy Crystal "Fernando" character that said that it is better to look good than to feel good?



Jan Jones is the one on the left (back in 1998, when she was Mayor of Las Vegas). The woman in the middle probably couldn't get a job in Harrah's, even though she was (at the time) Second Lady of the United States. They appeared together at a breast cancer run:


The mayor, who is recovering from breast cancer, ran alongside the vice president and Tipper Gore the entire race.

Jones, the Gores and other celebrities led 50,000 runners and walkers, including almost 3,000 cancer survivors, at the National Race for the Cure....

Jones and other cancer survivors were issued special pink T-shirts.

The mayor, who underwent a lumpectomy earlier in the year, recalled all she's been through with the cancer.

"Last year, at this time, I was on vacation with no knowledge at all that my whole life was going to change," she said.

Jones, who is running for Nevada governor, planned to meet later in the day with officials at the Democratic National Committee and then return to Las Vegas today.

After the race, she donned a hat, pinned her hair, put on makeup and was filmed by a camera crew hired by her campaign. A publicity photographer snapped pictures at the same time....



Aha - I just found someone who would meet Harrah's standards of employment:



Unfortunately, Tammy Faye probably isn't so big on the gambling part:


Q: Tell me about Heritage U.S.A.? It was the fourth largest amusement park in the world, very successful but building it ultimately destroyed so much. What was it about?

A: People love Las Vegas. They go there to do their thing and that's great for them but for a lot of Christian people, it's not so great. They could come to Heritage U.S.A. and shop, their kids could be kept busy, go to all the services they wanted to, and they could be entertained. In other words, they could have a lot of fun Vegas-type fun—but without the drinking or gambling.



The interviewer asked the one question that everyone wants to ask Tammy Faye:


Q: Tell me about the make-up?

A: (Laughs) Make-up is fun and I think your face is your own personal thing and no one has a right to tell you what to do with your face. It's your face, and if you're comfortable with a face lift, go get a face lift. Look the way you want to look. It's the one thing in life that we can have the way we want it and no one has the right to tell you what to do with it. My son has a lot of tattoos and body piercings and I have no right to tell him anything, it's his body. I love his tattoos, I think they're beautiful.

Q: You always tried for a sexy look.

A: (Cackles) Can't Christians be sexy too? Why not? Just because you ask Jesus in your life doesn't mean you're not a girl or a woman. Christians love sex, and I love to be sexy. If I walked around in an old ratty dress, without my hair done and no make-up, I could have preached all day long and nobody would want what I had. Instead, they would say, "Brother, if I have to look like that, forget about it!"

But when they found out that you could wear make-up and you can be sexy and have a lot of fun, the Gospel was more palatable to them because they realized that you don't have to give up everything. You don't have to give up fun to serve God.



She then discussed the end of PTL:


Q: How are you and your former husband Jim Bakker getting along?

A: We get along just fine. We're really good friends. We were friends for 30 years and we'll always be friends. We are like spirits, we really are,(Tammy's voice cracks for a moment) but the hurt that happened between us was so great that I couldn't forgive. That's a horrible thing to admit, especially if you're a Christian. But I knew I could forgive if I could just get away from the situation and remain good friends.

Q: When I saw The Eyes of Tammy Faye, I realized you had forgiven everyone including Reverend Jerry Falwell.

A: The greatest gift you can give yourself is to forgive. If I want to be forgiven for my mess up's, then I have to forgive everyone else when they mess up. That's why I believe I was able to go through cancer, and I am alive today.

Q: You had terminal colon cancer. How is it?

A: It's gone. I'm cured. I chose not to do chemotherapy because I have an awesome immune system, and I didn't want to destroy it. Now I'm reading about second cancers caused by the chemo and the radiation! I went the vitamin route and my faith in God.

Q: How could you handle the scandal? It would have killed most people.

A: You don't know what to do. I felt I was a good wife and did everything, but I didn't realize that a wife has the option to say no. Jim wouldn't listen to me. He listened to everyone who was around him, but he was paying everyone around him! We had 3,000 employees and someone would come up and tell him how fabulous and wonderful he was but no one would tell him the truth.

People knew about his affair with Jessica Hahn and held it over his head for years. Therefore, anything they did, Jim allowed it because he was afraid if I found out about it, I'd leave him. I wouldn't have left him. Everyone knew about it but me.

Q: Have you ever talked to Jessica?

A: One time I was on a radio show and she called in. We both started crying and I told her I didn't blame her. If I saw her today, I'd put my arms around her and hug her.


Comments:
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