Hooters-Too Fat for the Job?

Hooters girl vs dog womanThere’s been a recent popular news story about a Hooters employee who was basically put on a performance improvement plan for… being fat.

Although I’m not really a fan of the restaurant (their food doesn’t impress me and having women in tight clothing around doesn’t make it taste any better), I found this story interesting for several reasons.

Things to Ponder

  • How is this impacting the people who want to work for or eat at Hooters? Probably not very much. Customers want it or the company wouldn’t enforce the rule, and other candidates would have the same type of restrictions, too.
  • What impact on her job will all of this publicity have? It seems like it would be similar to a current employee suing the company. Even if they win, there’s no way the employer wants them to stay after the adversarial relationship has been fully plumbed.
  • Were these weight control expectations communicated ahead of time? Seems like an uncomfortable topic to discuss before a person even starts the job.
  • Is this an objective decision? Do managers actually weigh the employees or just go with their gut (pun definitely intended)?

A quote from a company spokesman in the video tries to clarify that the image/weight control issues are a job requirement just like they would be for someone in the Rockettes or the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.

This isn’t the first time Hooters has come under fire for pushing the boundaries of a labor law. Back in the 90s they were sued by some guys who thought that it was unfair that the server positions were women only. Since I don’t eat there, I don’t have much of an opinion, but I can say that it would have been rough seeing a guy in the tight shorts and tank top.

Check out the video of the news story below (original link). I find it ironic that the regional manager in the video obviously has a weight problem (although his position doesn’t require him to rely on his looks).

(Subscribers may have to click through to view.)

3 thoughts on “Hooters-Too Fat for the Job?

  1. Charlie Judy

    any comments i chose to make on this post will do nothing but get me in trouble – it is a trap i all too often fall into. therefore, i hereby exercise my right to follow in silence. your readers will thank me, i’m sure.
    .-= Charlie Judy´s last blog ..Cliffhangers for Hire =-.

  2. Krista Francis

    Very interesting questions from both a gender politics and HR perspectives.

    I think that Hooters should have to allow men to apply for waiter positions–hey, they could alter the attire slightly.

    5’8″ and 135 lbs is overweight? I think they are pushing the line as far as BFOQ goes.
    .-= Krista Francis´s last blog ..Improving HR\’s Brand =-.

  3. Ben Post author

    @Charlie My mouth is just big enough for my foot to fit in there. I gotcha. :-)

    @Krista It’s an interesting story to follow. Being overweight isn’t federally protected just yet, but it could very well be in the near future!

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