Lifeguard, 61, Fired for Refusing to Wear Speedo: Lawsuit

Friday, Aug 19, 2011  |  Updated 6:38 AM EDT
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A 61-year-old man who claims he was fired from his Jones Beach lifeguard job of 40 years because he refused to wear a Speedo for the yearly swim test is suing the state for age discrimination.

Roy Lester believes neither he nor any other man his age has any business wearing the skimpy swimsuit.

“I wore a Speedo when I was in my 20s,” Lester, who was 58 when he says he was forced out of his lifeguard post in 2007, told the Daily News. “But come on. There should be a law prohibiting anyone over the age of 50 from wearing a Speedo.”

Lester argues that the Speedo requirement was implemented to force aging lifeguards like him off the beach.

He filed two previous age discrimination suits against the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – one in 2008 and one a year later. Both were dismissed.

Last week, an appeals court ruled that his lawsuit could proceed. It could go to trial in Nassau County in the next two years, reports the News.

State officials declined comment.

State policy requires male lifeguard candidates to wear “boxer, briefs or board shorts” during the annual 100-yard swim they must complete in a minute and 15 seconds, according to the News.

State officials did not tell the News whether a Speedo-specific clause was in place when Lester showed up to take his swim test in 2007.

According to city regulations, lifeguards are required only to don a bathing suit for the test; the specific size and type of the suit aren’t referenced.

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