Jespersen v. Harrah’s Operating Co., 444 F.3d 1104 (9th Cir. 2004)

Darlene Jespersen, a former bartender at Harrah’s, filed this Title VII action, alleging the casino had discriminated against her on the basis of her sex when she was fired for refusing to comply with the casino’s appearance standards policy requiring all female beverage servers to wear makeup. (Harrah’s "Personal Best" appearance standards also required that male employees maintain short haircuts and neatly trimmed fingernails.) The district court granted summary judgment to the employer, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed that judgment after concluding that "grooming and appearance standards that apply differently to women and men do not constitute discrimination on the basis of sex." The Court further determined that Jespersen had failed to provide evidence that Harrah’s "Personal Best" appearance standards policy imposed unequal burdens on male and female employees.