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Former Hooters Waitress Files Lawsuit

Smith Glad She Came Forward

POSTED: Monday, May 24, 2010
UPDATED: 7:31 pm EDT May 24, 2010

A former Hooters waitress has filed a lawsuit against the restaurant chain.

Watch: Ex-Michigan Hooters Employee Files Suit

The suit alleges Hooters violated a civil rights act, which bars employers from discriminating on the basis of weight and height - the only such state law in the country.

Cassandra Smith, 20, has worked at the Hooters in Roseville for two years.

During an annual employee review, Smith said two women from the company's headquarters in Atlanta joined her bosses via conference call.

Smith said she was complimented on her attitude and customer service skills, but that during her uniform evaluation the women mentioned that her shirt and short size could use some improvement.

Smith said she is 5 feet 8 inches tall and 132 pounds and is completely comfortable with herself.

Smith said the women told her she would be given a free gym membership and had 30 days to improve, and if she did not, she would be separated from the company.

The company's uniforms are offered in small, extra small and double-extra small.

"Hooters of America Inc. announced today (Tuesday) that while the company does uphold image standards for the more than 17,000 Hooters girls currently serving in the more than 455 restaurants around the world, it does not impose any weight requirement," the company said in a statement. "We will not make any comment on a current employee except to say that no employee in Michigan has been counseled about their weight. However, we will say that our practice of upholding an image standard based on appearance, attitude and fitness for Hooters girls is both legal and fair. It is not unlike the standard used by the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders or the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes."

Michigan attorney Mark Bernstein is representing Smith, who is asking for $25,000 in damages for lost wages and emotional distress.

Smith is a student at Macomb Community College.

Do you think she has a case?

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