Employer Fires Woman for not having a “Pretty, Midwestern Girl Look”

May 21, 2010



I received a couple of calls from employment attorneys looking for a recent sex discrimination case in the Eighth Circuit.  In January the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued an opinion reversing and remanding an Iowa district court’s grant of summary judgment in  a sex discrimination and retaliation case.  The employer, a hotel chain, terminated its front desk employee for not being pretty enough or possessing a “Midwestern girl look.”  The court found that the employer “enforced a de facto requirement that a female employee conform to gender stereotypes in order to work.”  Lewis v. Heartland Inns of America, 591 F.3d 1033, 1037 (8th Cir. 2010).  The court went on to say, “We are beyond the day when an employer could evaluate employees by assuming or insisting that they matched the stereotype associated with their group.”  Id. at 1042, citing Price Waterhouse, 490 U.S.  228, 251 (1989).

Read the entire opinion on Westlaw here: Lewis v. Heartland Inns of America, L.L.C.

On WestlawNext:  Lewis v. Heartland Inns of America, L.L.C.