The cocktail waitresses’ feet at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut are killing them after years of wearing high heels. Glitz and glamor may be big parts of the casino game. But sophisticated operators should be able to create a party image without causing actual pain to their employees.
The casino mercifully pulled back on a requirement that its waitresses wear 2-inch heels. But it hasn’t acceded to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union’s demand that servers be allowed to wear the footwear of their own choosing. A doctor’s note would buy waitresses some time in more comfortable shoes. But resignation or transfer eventually awaits those servers who balk at limiting their footwear to styles approved by their managers.
There is a lesson here for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission: Gambling addiction isn’t the only pathology that arrives with casinos. It is painfully obvious that fancy shoe codes can be used as a way to push older workers aside; the waitress who challenged the 2-inch heel rule is 52. Foxwoods, which is one of three casinos now vying for a Greater Boston license, owes more to its employees. If cocktail waitresses are willing to sacrifice the larger tips that rise with the size of their heels, then that’s their business.
Casino customers come in search of entertainment. And there is nothing even vaguely entertaining about a waitress grimacing as a result of foot inflammation, bunions, and hammertoes.