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Ex-server wins ethnic discrimination lawsuit over her hair color

There are many reasons for which employees can be fired that are completely legal under state and federal laws. However, there are other reasons employers could give that could be classified as ethnic discrimination if certain employees are being treated differently than others. Patrons of Hooters restaurants in Florida and elsewhere may be shocked to hear that the company terminated one of its employees because of the color of her hair.

The plaintiff -- who happens to be black -- claims she was fired unjustly because she added blond highlights to her hair. According to Hooters' policy, the staff members were told to keep their hair within two shades, either lighter or darker, of their natural hair colors. The woman claims that this policy did not seem to apply to white women who regularly colored their hair outside those guidelines. Also, white women were allegedly permitted to have curly hair, whereas, the black women were not.

The plaintiff decided to put blond streaks in her hair, but was confronted by her general manager. He told her that it was unnatural for black women to have blond hair and gave her a set amount of time to have her hair re-colored. The woman refused to re-color her hair and was repeatedly sent home from work before being terminated.

After filing an ethic discrimination claim against Hooters, the server was awarded $250,000 for damages, court costs and her lost wages. Hooters contends that the settlement was outrageous and states that it was not happy with the decision. Florida workers who feel that they have been victimized because of race may look to the legal system for assistance. Based upon evidence of discrimination, a civil court may award them financial relief for damages, as well as any lost wages.

Source:, "$250,000 for Hooters server: Ex-Hooters Girl wins her 'hair discrimination' suit", Linsey Bald, April 9, 2015

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