Old post I never published, I’m publishing it now…
Interesting case from the CBC.
A 44 year old stripper was recently asked to leave her job, and she’s claiming that it was a case of age discrimination. It’s an interesting case to argue. She shouldn’t be fired simply because of age, instead she should be fired if she cannot fulfill the “bona fide job requirements”. If you’re in a widget factory, this is easy. How many widgets are you producing? How many widgets does the average worker produce? If what you produce is significantly less then the average, then you aren’t meeting the job requirements and should be fired.
In this case, though, I can’t really think of a clear-cut job requirement. Perhaps the requirement is to attract men to the club - but there’s not a whole lot of peer-reviewed studies on what exactly it is that would attract men best. When you consider that there are many different types of clubs out there, which appeal to different groups, it’s hard to come up with a definite answer.
In this case, perhaps age itself is a sort of job requirement - “See sexy 20 year old women” looks a lot better on a poster than, “See 44 year old women who have refused to let themselves go”. The age itself seems to have a direct appeal.
Perhaps this, then, is more analogous to the case of actors being selected for particular roles. Discrimination on the basis of race is illegal, but if you’re doing a movie about Muhammad Ali you can’t very well put a white guy in the lead role; so race itself becomes a determining factor. I don’t believe that “historical accuracy” is an excuse for racial discrimination though, so it sounds like they’re arguing that the commercial success of the film would be negatively impacted if another racial group was put in the lead role. I’d be interested in seeing how they would come up with numbers to justify a position like that - U-571 was about a British team, but the entire film was American-ized for some reason; strict adherence to identifiable groups in the name of historical accuracy isn’t really rigidly enforced.
I donno, the whole topic leaves me rather confused. I wonder what the precedent-setting cases are in this area (or maybe there just aren’t very many court challenges?). I mean, I wonder all the time too about restaurants - why is it that I can’t remember the last time I had a male server? (I literally cannot, and I’ve been trying to pay attention at least since the start of university) The role of server, which looks to be fairly lucrative most of the time (so far as summer jobs go…) looks to be an almost exclusively female one. But look in the kitchens and dish pits - that’s where you’ll find the guys.