Where Was HR When They Made Her Take Her Bra Off?

by Michael Haberman on May 17, 2011 · 4 comments


There are alot of ways to correct mistakes but there is no way to fix STUPID. You may have thought I was being sensational with my title of Where was HR when they made her take her bra off?” but that is the exactly what happened. This tale deals with a casino, a new uniform and a modeling agency. Oh and a union, but more about that later.

A casino in Atlanta City decided to change the uniforms of the cocktail waitresses in a new branding effort. Nothing wrong with that, it happens, it is marketing. What they did next was what I had issue with. They called in the cocktail waitresses and had them try on the new uniforms. For the uniforms to fit properly they had to be worn without bras. One 59 year old server, who had been at the casino since 1978 was not happy with the process. In fact she said she was “disgusted.” After putting the uniform on all servers had their pictures taken front side and backside from the neck down. The servers thought that they were putting them on to have them fitted approriately. Instead the photographs were sent to a modeling agency who then recommended which servers should be terminated. Our 59 year old server then got a telephone call telling her she no longer met the uniform standards and thus was terminated. She was one of 15 cocktail waitresses to get the news. She and the others are considering filing an age discrimination suit. Their union is also protesting the action.

The company says that they offered these servers first consideration in other jobs. “All cocktail servers were given individual consideration and the selection process was conducted in a fair and objective manner,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

That is the story, now let’s examine how this may have been done differently. Like I said earlier there is nothing wrong with changing uniforms. However, I think they would have been better off

  • Showing the servers the new uniforms,
  • Explaining how they needed to be worn  and what the standards of appearance needed to be.
  • I would have then told the employees they had the opportunity to choose if they wanted to continue in the position wearing that uniform and meeting the standards of appearance.
  • If they opted not to make that choice they would then be offered hiring preference in other casino positions.
  • I would not have taken photographs and
  • I certainly would NOT have had a modeling agency making personnel decisions for me.

I said I was going to talk about the union. One of the union spokesmen said “Basically, these women were brought into a room and told they couldn’t wear a bra. We will not rest until the casino is held accountable for the depraved policies they have inflicted on these women.” In this particular case I may agree with the union, not so much because of the uniform policy, but because HR just handled this situation STUPIDLY!

What do you think? How could they have done this differently?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve Owens May 17, 2011 at 9:03 am

Should playboy be sued for their standards of appearance in their magazines? How about hooters? There is an understandingbthat there is an appearance the employer is looking for

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Michael Haberman May 17, 2011 at 9:13 am

Steve:
Not at all. But the women that enter into those relationships know what the standards are and, in Hooters case, what the uniforms look like. My point was not about what the waitress had to wear, it was the poor method the company used in transitioning to those uniforms. They made a selection on an unstated standard. And they used an outside agent to make the selection. The end result may have ended up being the same in who got the job but the way they did it was poorly done and as a result they may be facing an age discrimination suit and union activity.

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Dave "theHRCzar" Ryan May 17, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Great piece Mike. This is wild; you and I agree AND we support the union on this issue. They are right – management dropped the ball on this. I suspect with a little thought and planning they could have found these women postions elsewhere and avoided a bunch of sh#% (if you know what I mean).

Thanks for sharing this and all of your other stuff. I really enjoyed getting to meet you at HRevolution. I had a great time visiting with you and putting a EFace to a RealFace!

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