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Hooters Sued for Weight Discrimination

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By Jason Beahm on May 26, 2010 12:45 PM

Hooters is being sued by a former employee who says that she was bullied by management about her weight. Now with her attorney, Richard Bernstein, she is fighting back with a lawsuit in Macomb County, Michigan. 

Former Hooters waitress Cassandra Smith has filed a lawsuit against Hooters of America Inc., alleging discrimination involving their famous Hooters uniforms. Smith alleges that she had received good reviews and a promotion to shift leader, before a meeting where she was placed on "weight probation," and told to join a gym and improve her looks. 

According to the complaint, Cassandra, 5'8" tall and 132.5 pounds, was counseled about the fit of her uniform and advised that she needed to lose weight so she would fit better into the size extra-small uniform she was required to wear. She was allegedly told by management "to call them personally if she had trouble making her uniform fit, and also that they would understand if she could not succeed, and therefore, wanted to quit her job."

The defendants allegedly shared Smith's weight with other Hooters workers, which resulted in an "intensely humiliating, deeply offensive, untenable" work environment, forcing her to resign. The complaint states that Hooter's actions are a violation of the Michigan Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act for weights and gender discrimination.

Hooters said in a statement that it does not enforce any weight requirement, and denies the "baseless and self-serving" charges.

The complaint seeks an award of damages in excess of $25,000, including recovery for lost wages, emotional distress and exemplary damages.

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