A couple of questions came up after I posted the latest about the Hooters Weight Discrimination Lawsuit.
Does Hooters tell their staff up-front about appearance requirements?
Yes. The following is a direct quote from the Hooters website About Page:
The element of female sex appeal is prevalent in the restaurants... The Hooters system employs over 25,000 people - over 17,000 of which are Hooters Girls. The "nearly world famous" Hooters Girls are the cornerstone of the Hooters concept... Hooters hires women who best fit the image of a Hooters Girl... The chain hires both males and females to work in management and host, staff, service bar, and kitchen positions. The Hooters Girl uniform consists of orange shorts and a white tank top. Pantyhose and bras are required.
People who wish to work as Hooters Girls must apply in person. I could find no easily accessible, spelled-out weight requirements, but any reasonable person can figure out that the in-person application requirement is to give management a chance to decide whether a woman will look sexy enough in a Hooters "uniform."
The lawsuit in question is filed in the state of Michigan. Michigan is one of the few states that makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of height and weight. It is relevant to mention that the plaintiff was not obese nor even unhealthy. She weighed less than when she had been recruited. I only mention these facts because it would be too easy for shallow types to make fun of her for being "fat." She wasn't.
Does Hooters hire male wait-persons?
No. As described in the quote from Hooters' website above, Hooters hires males and females for various positions, but only females as wait staff.
If not, do I smell another discrimination lawsuit in the works?
I don't know; good question.
Federal law protects citizens from discrimination on the basis of gender, age, race, religion, gender and disability. Individual states may add to this list; for example, in Vermont you cannot be fired for being homosexual.
Gender is a federally protected status, so theoretically, a lawsuit could be filed. I don't know how it would play out, but would be interested to watch.
In Michigan, you cannot be discriminated against on the basis of height and weight. I will continue to watch for updates in this important case.
PDF: Cassandra Marie Smith vs. Hooters of Roseville and Hooters of America.
This may be the most popular post on this blog. There are numerous lawsuits filed by men against Hooters for their policy of only hiring female wait staff. Men Sue Hooters for Sex Discrimination details some of the fun and games that have gone on over the years. The end results of these lawsuits are both money for the men, and Hooters agreeing to hire males for various and sundry other roles in the front of house, such as host.
Hooters continues to hide behind it's Bona Fide Occupational Qualification ("BOFAQ") to deny men waiter positions. At the same time, however, they claim they are a family restaurant. BOFAQs are given to strip clubs because they really can't hire men to strip for straight males who come in to be "entertained." Hooters waitresses are required to "entertain" customers -- it is in their employment agreement. The National Organization for Women ("NOW") at one point called them out on this, but so far Hooters continues to have one foot in BOFAQ and one in family restaurant.