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article imageMich. judge rules weight bias lawsuit against Hooters can proceed

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Aug 25, 2010 in Business
Mount Clemens - Two former employees of Hooters filed lawsuits against Hooters in May.
Hooters in turn requested the lawsuits be dismissed based on an arbitration agreement employees sign when they are hired.
Mount Clemens, MI.---- Digital Journal reported Cassandra Smith had filed a lawsuit against Hooters claiming weight discrimination. She was given thirty days to lose weight even though she weighed 13 pounds less than when she was recruited in 2008. She is 5-foot-8, weighs 132.5 and wore an extra small uniform.
Leanne Convery, filed a similar lawsuit soon after Smith filed. reported that Michigan is the only state that has a law that prohibits discrimination based on weight. The Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Right act was passed in 1976. It also forbids discrimination based on age, height, religion and color.
Hooters officials say their waitresses can be considered entertainers so the law shouldn't apply to them.
Mike NcNeil, vice president of marketing for Hooters of America said, "I guess what the basis of the lawsuit is, what a Hooters girl looks like matters everywhere in the United States except Michigan. I'm here to tell you it matters what they look like in Michigan as well."
He added the state law is "one of the long list of things that make it harder for us to do business in Michigan than in our 45 other states." reports on Monday Macomb County Circuit Judge Peter Maceroni denied Hooters' request to dismiss the suit because the waitresses had signed the arbitration agreement. His reason was the women may not have knowingly waived their right to sue.
Hooters claims the arbitration agreement prohibits the company from being sued.
Maceroni has ruled a jury must decide.
More about Hooters, Lawsuits, Two former servers
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