Rare Michigan Law May Help Waitress Win Weight Discrimination Lawsuit Against Hooters

Cassandra Smith, 20 years old, has filed suit in a Michigan Circuit Court against restaurant chain Hooters.  Smith alleges that the restaurant, which is known for its scantily-clad waitresses, placed her on a 30-day weight probation.  Despite receiving positive performance evaluations, the 5-foot-8-inch, 132 pound waitress was asked to lose weight to fit into an extra small uniform or lose her job.  Smith filed a discrimination lawsuit against Hooters of America in late May, 2010.  Full Story: Article

Michigan is the only state in the country that has a weight discrimination law on the books.  The Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination by employers based on a number of factors.  Height and weight discrimination were added in a 1976 amendment written by then-state Rep. Thomas Mathieu, D-Grand Rapids.  The only exceptions to the statute involve denial based on a “bona fide occupational qualification.”  A national trend has been more toward laws fighting discrimination over sexual orientation, but it possible that laws about physical appearance will be popping up around the country.  New York has not yet jumped on this bandwagon.

Leeds Morelli & Brown, PC is a nationally recognized firm in the area of employment law.  Our firm has had considerable success in matters of employment discrimination throughout Long Island and the New York City area.  For more information, contact Leeds, Morelli and Brown, PC at 1-800-585-4658 for a free consultation.