#1 Edited by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio

A former Hooters waitress has sued the restaurant chain in federal court, alleging she was pushed out of her job after brain surgery left her with buzz cut hair and a healing scar that made it too painful to wear a wig.

Sandra Lupo, 27, had worked as a waitress at a St. Peters, Mo., Hooters since April 2005 but took a leave from her job for a few weeks last summer to have a cranial mass removed.

Lupo had the support of her manager, who visited her in the hospital and suggested when she was ready to return to work that she wear a "chemo cap" or jewelry items "to distract from her lack of hair and the visibility of her cranial scar," court documents said.

On July 16, 2012, doctors gave Lupo clearance to go back to work at Hooters, where she worked to put herself through nursing school.

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Shortly before she returned to work, Lupo and her immediate manager met with the Hooters regional manager who said Lupo would be required to wear a wig while at work, according to court documents.

Lupo told him "she did not have a wig and that she could not afford a wig, as they range in cost between several hundred and several thousands of dollars," according to the lawsuit, adding that the regional manager did not offer to pay for the wig.

After her manager approached her again regarding a wig, Lupo said she borrowed one and tried to wear it at work. But it "caused extreme stress to her body because of the surgery and the healing wound," according to court records.

Lupo said her manager then reduced her hours to the point where she was making so little income that she was forced to quit, which made her ineligible for unemployment benefits.

"[Lupo's] physical injury was an actual disability from her surgery which limited the major life activity of working when such work required a wig to be worn," court documents said.

In a complaint filed with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, Lupo said she never believed her customers were ever "offended" by her appearance at the chain, which is known for its hot wings and servers clad in tight white tank tops and orange hot pants.

"My customers were not offended, and were in fact curious about the obvious scar from my surgery," she wrote in the complaint.

The lawsuit was moved from St. Charles County Circuit Court to U.S. District Court in St. Louis last week at the request of Georgia-based Hooters.

"Hooters of America believes the lawsuit is without foundation, denies the accusations and has filed a motion that the lawsuit be dismissed," a spokesman wrote in an email to ABCNews.com.

Lupo, whose attorney said Lupo now works as a trauma nurse, was not immediately available for comment.

The Americans With Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals who have a disability. This includes having a physical or mental impairment, a history of having an impairment or the perception of having one.

Marcia McCormick, an associate professor of law at St. Louis University, said Lupo's surgery to remove a brain mass qualifies as a disability, but that Hooters could argue that her appearance was a bona fide qualification for her job.

"In the disability context, if Hooters is to say she's not as attractive now without this wig, if they're selling her attractiveness that might be a real function of her job and mean she isn't qualified by the Americans With Disabilities Act," McCormick said.

"Most companies can't say something like this, but Hooters sells this experience," she said.

i am proud of her working as what she went to school for

#3 Edited by Dark_Guyver (2266 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't wanna go eat at hooters and see some shaven head waitress with a huge scar. I don't blame them. She should have complied and wore the wig.

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#4 Posted by Bruxae (12204 posts) - - Show Bio

I dont want to read the whole thing but judging from the first few lines.. As morally wrong as it is, hooters is built on the fact that people want to come there for the pretty girls, not someone with a shaved head covered in scars, it sucks but its their buisness model and she knew that when she started working there, they are well within their rights firing her.

#6 Posted by RisingBean (3548 posts) - - Show Bio

I hope she wins.

#7 Edited by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio

I hope she wins.

you and i both mein freud

#8 Edited by tupiaz (2166 posts) - - Show Bio

The problem here as I see it is that Hooters to begin with didn't pay for the wig If the job wants her to wear a wig, then it most be the job that buys the wig. It could have been costume made so it didn't irritated the scar. Again she knew what kind of restaurant it was when she took the job. However it most be the restaurants job to prove that she earned less money for the restaurant now than before. The sexist comment would be some thing like this: "I don't really care for her face. I talk to the hooters anyway."

#9 Edited by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio

@tupiaz said:

The problem here as I see it is that Hooters to begin with didn't pay for the wig If the job wants her to wear a wig, then it most be the job that buys the wig. It could have been costume made so it didn't irritated the scar. Again she new what kind of restaurant it was when she took the job. However it most be the restaurants job to prove that she earned less money for the restaurant now than before. The sexist comment would be some thing like this: "I don't really care for her face. I talk to the hooters anyway."

you make a good point

#10 Posted by Vance Astro (91067 posts) - - Show Bio

I go to Hooters for the wings anyway.

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#11 Posted by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio

I go to Hooters for the wings anyway.

riiiight im just kidding. they got good food, but the nearest hooters near me closed down. my friends and i were up the street from one and were going to watch wrestlemania if they had it

#12 Posted by Deadite (20116 posts) - - Show Bio

Didn't know they can do that...cut the person's hours until the person quit on their own. They can save up a lot money using this method.

#13 Posted by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio

@deadite said:

Didn't know they can do that...cut the person's hours until the person quit on their own. They can save up a lot money using this method.

oh yeah employers can do that. once i was working at a mcdonalds and little by little my hours were being cut so i either quit or was let go. cant remember as it was back in the mid-to-late 1990s

#14 Edited by Deadite (20116 posts) - - Show Bio

@umbrafeline said:

@deadite said:

Didn't know they can do that...cut the person's hours until the person quit on their own. They can save up a lot money using this method.

oh yeah employers can do that. once i was working at a mcdonalds and little by little my hours were being cut so i either quit or was let go. cant remember as it was back in the mid-to-late 1990s

If you were let go they'd have to pay a severance package, right? This method's main purpose was so they don't have to pay the severance, I think.

#15 Posted by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio

@deadite said:

@umbrafeline said:

@deadite said:

Didn't know they can do that...cut the person's hours until the person quit on their own. They can save up a lot money using this method.

oh yeah employers can do that. once i was working at a mcdonalds and little by little my hours were being cut so i either quit or was let go. cant remember as it was back in the mid-to-late 1990s

If you were let go they'd have to pay a severance package, right? This method's main purpose was so they don't have to pay the severance, I think.

i am sure they would have to give you your last check/severence pay. but yeah they littled her hours more and more that she would have to quit so they wouldnt have to pay her. todays companies care more about profits than money going out even if the worker was among the best they had. but im sure people around the world knew that already.

#16 Posted by mikethekiller (8282 posts) - - Show Bio

What do you expect from a place like hooters.

#17 Posted by Deadite (20116 posts) - - Show Bio

What do you expect from a place like hooters.

I'm just shocked. Isn't it suppose to be a well recognized chain restaurant?

#18 Posted by Vance Astro (91067 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't think she'll win nor do I think Hooter's is wrong for firing her. She was hired for how she looks. If that changes, what do you expect them to do? People are looking at Hooter's as just a restaurant but part of the appeal of the restaurant is the waitresses and their assets.

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#19 Edited by tupiaz (2166 posts) - - Show Bio

@deadite said:

@mikethekiller said:

What do you expect from a place like hooters.

I'm just shocked. Isn't it suppose to be a well recognized chain restaurant?

Recognised? Yeah but not for there good morals or view of women. I also remember the program undercover boos where Hooters was in the program. They had at least one manager that had some pretty intresting ideas. If the girls wanted to go early they would be in a competition where their hands was on their backs and had eat of a plate. All for good fun...for the manager that is. The way Hooters dealt with it was to give him some courses so he could change his views about women. When you can have people like that as managers and don't kick them out the moment you learn about stuff like this you morals is out of touch with todays norms.

#20 Posted by FalconPuuunch (942 posts) - - Show Bio

I kind of understand where she is coming from, but c'mon now. She and every other waitress who works at Hooters knows exactly why they were hired. It only makes sense that she would be let go for having a huge scar and a bald spot. It sucks immensely, but Hooters isn't exactly the classiest establishment. Instead of being a complete tool, her manager should have just let her go with benefits. There was no reason to push her to quit or make her ugly by suggesting she wear a wig.

#21 Posted by mikethekiller (8282 posts) - - Show Bio

@deadite said:

@mikethekiller said:

What do you expect from a place like hooters.

I'm just shocked. Isn't it suppose to be a well recognized chain restaurant?

It's recognized mainly for having attractive women as waiters.

#22 Posted by Vance Astro (91067 posts) - - Show Bio
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#23 Posted by thespideyguy (2645 posts) - - Show Bio

There is no wrongful terminationbh

#24 Posted by Dernman (14611 posts) - - Show Bio

Never been to a hooters but I believe they had the right to do what they did even if it was messed up. I wonder if there was some other options they could have explored before what happened because you do feel for her.

#25 Posted by lykopis (10756 posts) - - Show Bio

I kept reading along, expecting there to be some blurb that the restaurant in question was getting complaints from its customers because of her appearance. I didn't see anything.

I hope she wins, more because of the underhanded way they forced her to quit her job. She didn't say no to the wig because she wanted to make a stand for scar riddled bald ladies everywhere. She said no because it hurt her too much in terms of her wound and its recovery.

Seriously -- it's not her smile that got her hired in the first place.