Black Waitress Fired From Hooters Because She Had Blond Highlights, Wins $250,000 Discrimination Lawsuit
Back in 2013, Farryn Johnson was working as a waitress at the Hooters restaurant in Baltimore when she was fired because of her hair style. Farryn says she showed up to work one day with blond highlights and the manager demanded she remove it because “black people don’t have blond hair.” She thought that was odd since Asian and white waitresses had artificial color in their hair. When she refused to remove the highlights from her hair, she was fired. She filed a discrimination lawsuit against Hooters and won. Arbitrator Edmund D. Cooke, Jr. ruled that Farryn's termination was racially discriminatory and unlawful. He added: “[t]he written and oral policy encapsulated in [Hooters’] Image Policy is a facially discriminatory employment policy and thus constitutes direct evidence of racial discrimination.” He also noted that while Hooters targeted Farryn for having her hair colored in a way it deemed “unnatural,” it allowed servers of other races to work with their hair colored in ways that did not appear natural (such as with multi-colored streaks or bright red hair dye). As part of the settlement with Hooters, Farryn was awarded $250,000 in lost wages. She released a statement that read, in part: “I am extremely happy regarding the decision and hope that it will compel Hooters to eliminate their discriminatory practices. Black people can have blond hair and the law agrees!” Hear, hear.
Here's the original news report from 2013: