Hooters, Inc. was found guilty of discrimination Tuesday for firing an African-American employee who refused to remove her blond highlights while working at the restaurant’s Inner Harbor location.
Arbitrator Edmund Cooke, Jr. ruled that Johnson’s termination was racially discriminatory and unlawful. She won a $250-thousand judgment – for back pay, compensatory damages and attorney fees. Johnson started working at the Hooters in the Inner Harbor in the summer of 2012. After a few months, she decided to put a blond streak into her previously brown hair.
She says her bosses attitudes toward her changed, immediately. “My coworkers, the other women who worked in the restaurant with me, I was getting compliments from them but I could sense a little tension from the managers,” she said in an interview with ABC-2 News. She says they told her to remove the blond highlights – and she was written up when she didn’t.