Hooters Waitress, Cassie White, Punished for Weight
Hooters server Cassie White claims she was recently put on "weight probation" and told she has 30 days to drop some pounds or have her employment with Hooters terminated. She is 5-foot-8 and 132 pounds.
White is not the first person to lose employment because of her weight. In 2009, Ralph Lauren model Filippa Hamilton says the company fired her claiming she was overweight and couldn't fit into the clothes. At the time, Hamilton was 5-foot-10 and weighed 120 pounds.
Obviously these people are not overweight by most people's standards -- but who should decide what constitutes being overweight, or whether weight can be a determining factor in job performance?
Remember the recent stir over the Lane Bryant plus-size lingerie commercial? Lane Bryant is accusing ABC and FOX of discrimination for refusing to air the ad. And what about the well-publicized 2008 firing of Kirstie Alley? The zaftig actress was dismissed from her role as Jenny Craig's spokesperson after losing weight on their diet plan and then gaining much of it back.
In some cases -- for people who are in the public eye or performing a job where looks or weight may play an important role -- being a certain size may be part of the job description. But for most of us, weight shouldn't be a factor in determining performance, right?
And yet, a 2007 Yale University survey of 2,000 overweight women found that 53 percent felt stigmatized by co-workers, while 43 percent said their employers stigmatized them. Being stigmatized translated into not being hired, being passed over for promotions, losing a job, or being teased or harassed because of their weight.
And it's not just women who may be discriminated against. Michael Frank lost his job in a Long Island school in 2004 for being fat. The superintendent said "his obesity was not conducive to learning and he was too big and sloppy to be a school leader."
In 2002, Steven Pasanski was named employee of the year and promoted to manager at Continental Rentals, Inc. A year later, he was fired because he was "overweight and sweat too much." In 2005 Pasanski was awarded $284,000 in a wrongful discharge case.
In 2010, two things appear to be clear: Standards for acceptable weight appear to be exceptionally skewed and people are still getting fired for being overweight.