Former Hooters waitress awarded $250K in discrimination case

BALTIMORE (AP) -- An arbitrator has awarded $250,000 to a former Hooters waitress and found the chain's "image policy" discriminates against African-American waitresses.

The arbitrator's ruling issued this week states that Farryn Johnson, who is African American, alleged that a manager at the Inner Harbor location in Baltimore said her blond highlights weren't allowed because "black people don't have blonde hair." Johnson, who was fired in 2013, claims waitresses of other races were not disciplined for having unnatural hair colors.

Arbitrator Edmund Cooke Jr. wrote that Hooters' discipline and firing of Johnson over her highlights violated both federal and state civil rights laws.

Hooters calls the decision "flawed," saying Johnson's claim that African-American women were barred from having hair in unnatural colors was untrue and the arbitrator didn't listen to the chain's side.

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