Strip club waitress sues over age discrimination

By Calvin Palmer

A strip club business in Houston is being sued for allegedly firing a waitress because of her age.

Mary Bassi was 56 at the time she was terminated at the Cover Girls strip club. She alleges that she was frequently called “old” by managers and had to endure comments about the menopause and Alzheimer’s disease.

The lawsuit was filed against AHD Houston in federal court last week by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Lauren Serper, an employment lawyer representing the company, said she had not seen a copy of the lawsuit and preferred not to discuss the details.

Serper said the company has strict anti-discrimination polices, has zero tolerance for violations and intends to defend the case vigorously.

She also expressed surprise about the filing because the last time she heard about the case from the EEOC was last June.

Bassi had worked for AHD Houston and its affiliated enterprises as a waitress since 1993, working at Centerfolds before her job at Cover Girls.

“She made a lot of money, her customers liked her, and she sold a lot of liquor,” said Connie Wilhite, the EEOC lawyer in charge of the case.

Wilhite said Bassi earned in the high five figures or low six figures as a full-time server until she was terminated in 2006. About a year earlier, Cover Girls began to hire younger women and gave them the shifts that Bassi normally worked.

AHD Houston and its affiliated enterprises own five strip clubs including Centerfolds, Treasures, Gold Cup, Trophy Club and Spendor. Cover Girls burned down in 2007 and was never rebuilt.

Bassi, now 59, is working as a waitress for a competitor, Wilhite said.

“It doesn’t matter what industry you work in,” Wilhite said. “You are still protected by anti-discrimination laws.”

For her sake, I hope Bassi filled in accurate tax returns for her low six-figure earnings. Something tells me that the IRS is suddenly going to start closely examining her file.

And there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that the club she now works for is called Wrinklies.

[Based on a report by the Houston Chronicle.]

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