Labor & Employment

Ex-Hooters Waitress Files Suit Claiming Weight Discrimination

A former Hooters waitress claims in a discrimination suit that the restaurant placed her on “weight probation” and counseled her to join a gym so she could fit into her extra-small size uniform.

Waitress Cassie Smith, who had worked in the Roseville, Mich., restaurant outside Detroit, claims she was 5-foot-8 and weighed 132.5 pounds at the time, according to the complaint (PDF posted by the Wall Street Journal Law Blog). The suit says Hooters has only three sizes of uniforms: small, extra small, and extra extra small. The Wall Street Journal Law Blog, the Detroit Free Press, Reuters and the Associated Press all have stories.

Smith claims the restaurant violated a state civil rights law that bars discrimination on the basis of height and weight. Lawyers told the Free Press that Hooters may argue the law doesn’t apply to Smith because she is an entertainer who must meet certain qualifications.

A Hooters statement cited by Reuters and AP says the restaurant has not asked any Michigan employee to lose weight and does not enforce any weight requirements. It does, however, occasionally “challenge employees about their image.”

Related coverage: “Law Prof Decries ‘Beauty Bias’ and Killer Shoes, Suggests Legal Remedies for the Former”

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