Pregnant casino waitresses claim discrimination

Monday , July 16, 2012 - 2:45 PM

Stephanie Farr

PHILADELPHIA - Luck may be a lady, but she better not be pregnant, or overweight.

Two former cocktail waitresses have filed a federal lawsuit against Parx Casino, in Bensalem, Pa., claiming that they were demoted when they became pregnant.

Parx’s chief counsel said that the casino’s policy has been changed since the women filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2009. The establishment now provides maternity versions of its skimpy uniforms to its cocktail waitresses, who are known as Parkettes.

However, a rule remains that Parkettes and their male equivalents, Park Men, must not deviate more than 7 percent from their body weight when they were hired.

Parkettes Alycia Campiglia, 27, and Christina Aicher, 31, who both became pregnant while working for the casino in 2008, claim that when they told managers they were pregnant, they were informed that they could continue as Parkettes only until their costumes no longer fit, according to their lawsuit, filed July 5.

Campiglia claims that when she approached the director of marketing at Parx, Darlene Monzo, about the issue, Monzo told Campiglia that she "did it to (herself)" and that the "casino did not have to offer (Campiglia) anything in this economy," according to the lawsuit.

Both women said that they were offered transfers to the concession stand or players services, but they said that they wouldn’t be able to earn tips. The EEOC determined in August 2009 that Parx had discriminated against pregnant cocktail servers.

"We changed the policy to say you can work (as a Parkette) if you’re pregnant," said Thomas Bonner, Parx’s chief counsel and vice president. "We do have maternity costumes now."



What hasn’t changed, though, is Parx’s strict weight limitations. Parkettes and Park Men are subject to periodic weigh-ins, and if they fail, they are subject to termination.

Sidney Gold, who represents Campiglia and Aicher, said that Parx can get away with such physical limitations on cocktail servers because they define Parkettes as "entertainers."

"The only entertainment these women ever did was serve liquor," Gold said. "They were anything but entertainers."

Bonner said that those employees are considered entertainers because they participate in calendar and talent contests and make public appearances off-site. No other casino staffers are subject to the weight requirement, he said.

"We’ve established the Parkettes as sort of a brand with which customers identify the casino, and it’s important to maintain the integrity of the brand," he said.

In 2006, cocktail waitresses at the Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City filed a $70 million lawsuit against the casino for instituting a 7 percent weight-gain policy. The lawsuit was settled out of court in 2008 for terms that weren’t disclosed.

Last year, Resorts Casino in Atlantic City was hit with three lawsuits that are pending from veteran cocktail waitresses who claim that they were demoted or let go because they were too old or not sexy enough for the new flapper costumes.

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)2012 Philadelphia Daily News

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