Term limits for politicians? Sure. But for employees?
Revel, a new casino set to open later this year in Atlantic City, N.J., has announced it will impose term limits on its front-of-the-house employees, including bellhops, dealers and waiters. Employees in those and other positions will be hired for terms of four to six years only. After that, they will have to reapply for their jobs, competing against other candidates.
The requirement will apply no matter how their high performance reviews.
Revel doesn't use the phrase "term limits." Instead, it describes these jobs as having a "defined service cycle.'" The company's website says the casino is looking for people who are "humble" and "hungry," and who "don't overly complicate things." In a December statement it said it hoped the policy would help it to attract highly professional people "inspired by a highly competitive work environment."
Atlantic City has one of those: As of November, the local unemployment rate stood at 16.6 percent.
Philadelphia employment attorney Alice Ballard wonders why Revel or any employer would want to put a high-performing employee through this gantlet, unless it were for reasons unrelated to performance. She suggests age as one possibility.
Brian Tyrrel, a professor of hospitality management at New Jersey's Stockton College, speculates Revel might want to give employees a powerful stimulus to move up or out: Since term limits won't apply to the casino's managers, a roulette dealer, say, would have a compelling reason to try to pull himself up by his rakes.
Revel, in its December statement, implies the purpose of the policy is to ensure guests get highly focused attention from the employees most likely to interact with them. "The defined term roles are the most critical in the entertainment and hospitality business," it says, "and their engagement with our guests will help define us."
Jeff Payne, who has worked for 23 years for Caesars Palace and serves drinks in Caesars high-roller lounge, was asked by National Public Radio how he felt about Revel's term limits policy.
"How can you buy a car if you don't know you're going to have a job?" he asks. How can somebody with term limits know if he'll be albe to buy or refinance a home? Casino jobs, says Payne, have traditionally been decent and good-paying. "But my concern is," he says, "You get this job - and then you have no job security."