Cassandra Smith of Roseville, Michigan was given a free gym membership to slim down or possibly lose her job as a Hooters employee. The twenty-year-old college student was told in her evaluation that her uniform was “not properly fitting anymore” and was given a total of 60 days to show improvement. Ms. Smith, at 5’8” and 132 pounds, has a normal BMI of 20.1 but according to Hooters she is not up to standard.
Meeting a particular image standard for a job is not uncommon in positions where appearances play a large role in the impression of a company. Many jobs have image standards associated with them, such as Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader, high fashion model, and Las Vegas cocktail waitress, among others.
Hooters America issued the following statement: “ 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.” Click here for CNN news story.
Is it fair? Should this be a civil rights lawsuit? In my opinion, accepting a contract either written or verbal, where there is a standard associated with maintaining a certain image implies that the image in question is agreed upon. Ms. Smith may be in a healthy weight range, but she’s put on pounds since she was hired, and according to Hooters does not have the image they are looking for. Ms. Smith, in turn, gets a free gym membership and up to 60 days to improve. I think that’s more than fair.
Hooters has ten locations in the Houston area.
What do you think? Is Cassandra being discriminated against or lucky for getting a second chance?