06/03/2010 // WPB, FL, USA // Nicole Howley // Nicole Howley

Detroit, MI—Hooters executives are firing back at the lawsuit filed by the former Hooters waitress, who claims she was placed on probation because she was deemed “overweight” during an annual employee review. Not only are executives defending themselves, but also other “Hooters Girls” and fellow co-workers are taking a stand in support of the restaurant chain, as reported by ClickOnDetroit.com.

Mike McNeil, vice president of marketing for Hooters of America Inc. stated, “We’re not afraid of a fight, whether that be from a city, state, or a law firm.”

As previously reported, Cassandra Smith, 20, worked for the Hooters is Roseville for two years and when she was called in for an employee review, where she was commended for her attitude and customer service skills. But she was also told that her uniform shirt and short size needed some improvement, and was offered a free gym membership with 30 days to improve or risk loosing her job. At 5 feet 8 inches tall and 132 pounds, Smith believes that she doesn’t need to loose weight.

Hooters uniforms are only offered in sizes double-extra small, extra small and small.

The lawsuit alleges that Hooters violated the civil rights act, which keeps employers from discriminating against weight and height; the state law is the only one of its kind in the country.

McNeil contends that Hooters has an image to uphold, and their image will not be damaged because of state law. “It matters what they look like in Michigan and we intend to defend ourselves all the way. McNeil asserts that the girls know what’s expected from them when they are hired. “What’s expected is that they are hired by the image they have when they walk into the door.”

Raechel Holtgrave, Miss Hooters International 2009, stated that “Hooters Girls” know that there is a standard that needs to be maintained. Holtgrove asserts that she has never been asked how much she weighs, which she says is the same as Smith, at 132 pounds.

A co-worker at the Roseville restaurant, Brittany Richter, defended her manager and fellow co-workers during a news conference. Richter stated, “I enjoy my job. I love coming to work. Hooters has helped me pit through school with its tuition reimbursement.”

Smith’s lawsuit is seeking $25,000 in damages for lost wages and emotional distress.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Michigan employment attorneys.

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