Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Is Cassie Smith's Hooter's Uniform Size An Exception To Michigan Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act Or Is Cassie Simply Already Fun Size?
Hooters may become a breeding ground for lawsuits. Jodee Berry was the Hooters waitress who got back at a boss who allegedly tried a bait and switch on a contest prize. LINK. Now, there is another suit being brought against Hooters. This time it is Cassie Smith, a 20-year-old former Hooters waitress who claims she was placed on probation "to lose weight." She claims being ordered to lose weight constituted discrimination in a lawsuit filed Monday.
The suit in Macomb County Circuit Court claims Hooters of America violated Cassie Smith's civil rights when managers at the Roseville eatery threatened to fire her if she didn't lose weight during a 30-day probation period. (Cassie was expected to fit into a size extra-small uniform. She was allegedly offered a gym membership to help in the transition.) Hooters denies anyone from the company or restaurant asked Smith to lose weight and said there are no weight standards. It also claims she was never placed on probation. (How about double secret probation like in Animal House?)
For the male readers wondering what Cassie looks like, she stands 5 feet 8 and weighs 132 pounds soaking wet. Neither by her photo nor by her measurements would she ever be considered a large girl. Yet Cassie no longer works at the restaurant because in her opinion losing any weight might put her health in jeopardy. Cassie is represented by Richard Bernstein of the Sam Bernstein Law Firm in Farmington Hills. Her law suit alleges a violation of the Michigan Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act that bars employers from discrimination on the basis of religion, marital status, race, gender, age, height and weight.
Are waitresses entertainers who are not protected under the civil rights act because they must meet specific qualifications? The key is whether such requirements are 'reasonably necessary' to the business. Plaintiffs will contend the main purpose of a waitress is to serve food and beverages. (Yup, men really do go to Hooters only for the hot wings argument.) We should know in a few months if looking good in a skimpy Hooters outfit is a BFOQ. Stay tuned for a full pictorial... on second thought, just click on the LINK.