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Hooters Faces Weight Discrimination Claim

Published by on June 11, 2010

A Michigan woman has sued Hooters for “weight discrimination” in violation of the only state law in the country that provides such protection.  More after the break. Cassandra Smith began working for Hooters in 2008, and claims she weighed 145 pounds at the time she was hired.  After two years of successful performance reviews and […]

A Michigan woman has sued Hooters for “weight discrimination” in violation of the only state law in the country that provides such protection.  More after the break.

Cassandra Smith began working for Hooters in 2008, and claims she weighed 145 pounds at the time she was hired.  After two years of successful performance reviews and a promotion to Shift Leader, Smith alleges that during her May 2010 evaluation she was placed on “weight probation,” because her extra small uniform no longer fit properly.   (According to Smith, the three available sizes for Hooters uniforms are small, extra-small, and extra extra-small).  Smith claims that management offered her a free gym membership, and told her she would need to lose weight within 30 days or face termination, even though she now weighs 132.5 pounds.   Rather than face the indignity of a 30-day weight probation, Smith quit her job and brought suit for violation of Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based upon a variety of factors including weight.  In response, Hooters denied that it has a weight requirement, and said it instead maintains image standards for fitness and appearance, similar to those imposed by the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders and the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.

Michigan’s law is the only one in the U.S. that prohibits weight discrimination.  A handful of U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, also prohibit discrimination based upon appearance.

WSJ Law Blog has a story here.

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