Jespersen v. Harrah's Operating Co.

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Jespersen v. Harrah's
United States District Court for the District of Nevada
Full case nameJespersen v. Harrah's Operating Co., Inc.
Date decidedOctober 22, 2002
Judge sittingMary M. Schroeder, Pregerson, Kozinski, Rymer, Silverman, Graber, W. Fletcher, Tallman, Clifton, Callahan, and Bea
Case history
Subsequent actionsappealed to the 9th Circuit, and then reheard en banc, which affirmed the district court decision

Jespersen v. Harrah's Operating Co., No. 03-15045 (9th Cir. Apr. 14, 2006) (en banc) was a United States federal employment law sex discrimination case.

Darlene Jespersen was a 20-year employee at Harrah's Casino in Reno, Nevada. In 2000, Harrah's advanced a "Personal Best" policy, which created strict standards for employee appearance and grooming, which included a requirement that women wear substantial amounts of makeup. Jespersen was fired for non-compliance with its policy. Jespersen argued the makeup requirement was contrary to her self-image, and that the requirement violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[1][2]

In 2001, Jespersen filed a lawsuit in United States District Court for the District of Nevada, which found against her claim. The district court opined that the policy imposed "equal burdens" on both sexes and that the policy did not discriminate based on immutable characteristics of her sex.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the decision, but on rehearing en banc, reversed part of its decision. The en banc majority's opinion was written by Chief Judge Mary M. Schroeder, over the dissent of Judges Harry Pregerson, Alex Kozinski, Susan P. Graber, and William A. Fletcher.[3][4] The en banc court concluded, in contrast to the previous rulings, that such grooming requirements could be challenged as sex stereotyping in some cases, even in view of the decision in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins. However, the majority found that Jespersen had not provided evidence that the policy had been motivated by stereotyping, and affirmed the district court's finding for Harrah's.[5][6][7]


  1. ^ Moldover, Judith A. (April 28, 2006). "9th Circuit: Cosmetics cause of action OK'd". HR Magazine. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  2. ^ Selmi, Michael (2007). "The Many Faces of Darlene Jespersen". Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy. 14: 467.
  3. ^ "Recent Case: Ninth Circuit Holds That Women Can Be Fired for Refusing to Wear Makeup" (PDF). Harvard Law Review. 120: 651. 2006. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  4. ^ Jespersen v. Harrah’s Operating Co., 444 F.3d 1104 (9th Cir. 2006) (en banc).
  5. ^ Chandler, Susan; Jones, Jill B. (2011-07-28). Casino Women: Courage in Unexpected Places. Cornell University Press. pp. 79–. ISBN 9780801450143. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  6. ^ Publishers, Aspen (2008-05-02). Employment Law: Keyed to Courses Using Rothstein and Liebman's Employment Law. Aspen Publishers Online. pp. 92–. ISBN 9780735571860. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  7. ^ Cooper, Frank Rudy; McGinley, Ann C. (August 2012). Multidimensional Masculinities and Law: Feminist and Critical Race Lenses. NYU Press. pp. 54–. ISBN 9780814723500. Retrieved 14 November 2012.

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