Woman: Hooters fired me over my highlights

African-American woman said she was told her hair violated the appearance policy

POSTED: 09:09 AM MDT Oct 24, 2013    UPDATED: 08:41 AM MDT Oct 24, 2013 
Hooters_Restaurant

A Baltimore woman is suing Hooters, alleging she was fired after putting blond highlights in her hair.

Farryn Johnson, a 25-year-old African-American, claims her supervisors said her hair violated the appearance policy for "Hooters Girls," her attorney told the Baltimore Sun.

Her managers told her to remove the highlights, but Johnson told them she didn't have the money to.

She was later fired for what the company called an "improper image," according to the lawsuit.

Johnson said it's particularly unfair because other waitresses at the Baltimore restaurant were not given the same ultimatums, even though they had obviously dyed hair. An Asian-American waitress, for example, had dyed her hair bright red, while a white waitress had black hair with platinum highlights, according to the lawsuit.

Johnson said other black waitresses were also told to straight their curly hair.

Rebecca Sinclair, chief human resources officer for Hooters of America, denied the claims.

"Hooters adamantly denies that it has different policies and standards for hair based on race," she said in a statement published by UPI. "As a global brand, Hooters embraces our culturally diverse employee base and our standards are applied impartially."

Johnson, who worked at Hooters for almost a year, is seeking compensation for lost wages and a change in policy, the Sun reported.