Waitress Claims Blonde Highlights Got Her Fired

Farryn Johnson, a 25-year-old waitress at the Baltimore Harborplace Hooters has filed a complaint against the restaurant chain for wrongful termination based on discrimination. Johnson, who is black, was terminated after ignoring a reprimand to remove blonde highlights from her hair.

Ms. Johnson received the reprimand in June, and was fired in August when she had still not corrected the issue. Johnson claims to have been told by her manager that blonde highlights did not look “natural” on an African-American woman.

Because she could not afford to have her hair color changed, Johnson continued to report to work with the highlights in her hair. In July she was warned again that she needed to change her hair color.

Hooters claimed that Johnson’s hair color violated employee image standards. Specifically that employees must keep their hair color within two shades, lighter or darker, than their natural hair color.

This rule was apparently ignored for white employees. The only other waitresses disciplined for their hair color were also African-American women. The suit alleges that management told another black employee to straighten her hair and that she was disciplined on a few occasions for reporting to work with curly hair.

UPI: Fired waitress: Hair highlights got me fired by Gabrielle Levy.
UPI/Scribd: Photocopy of Charge of Discrimination filed with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights.

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