Can an Indian owned casino hire new waitresses at a base pay of$25 an hourand pay the older waitresses $8.75 an hour?

They are advertising to replace us older waitresses. Hiring young girls to show a lot of skin and cannot be over a size 8 (many of us are not over an 8). Ad said must have cheerleader physical appearance. We have been with casino since it opened and have very good reviews. They also said if we discussed with anyone we will be fired on the spot.

Asked on December 1, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I believe that even Native American owned businesses are bound by the federal laws preventing discrimination in employment (though note: they are *not* bound by all labor or employment law). If that is the case, then what you describe may well constitute an illegal form of discrimination--such as age based, if they are paying waitresses older than 40 less than younger ones. You may wish to contact the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or the equivalent agency in your state. Alternately, you could speak with an attorney about bringing a lawsuit, either on your own or together with other affected waitresses. Since tribal law and tribal sovereignty complicate the matter, you might try contacting, if possible, a lawyer with Native American law experience--while normally, the best bet would be an employment attorney for a case like this, it may be more important to get someone who understands the interaction of tribal sovereignty and federal law.


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