Sandra Lupo, Former Hooters Waitress, Sues Breastaurant Chain for Discrimination

Sandra Lupo Hooters lawsuit.jpg
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Sandy Lupo says Hooters discriminated against her for having a surgical scar.
Sandra Lupo knew something was seriously wrong when she suddenly felt a numb, tingling sensation running along the left side of her body down to her toes. After she was admitted to the emergency room, a series of tests revealed a mass in the right side of her brain that had burst and was bleeding inside her skull. Doctors told her that without immediate surgery to remove the clot, there was a chance she could die.

Lupo, who'd been a waitress at the St. Peters location of Hooters since 2005, says she called and told her bosses that she was about to undergo into brain surgery. The procedure, which required drilling holes into and opening the skull, meant Lupo's long dark hair would have be shaved off.

"They said, 'Don't worry about it, no big deal,'" recalls Lupo.

According to a lawsuit Lupo filed last week in federal court, her manager told her she could wear jewelry or a knitted cap to soften the look, then return to her usual shifts. Lupo was waitressing to put herself through nursing school, and with only six weeks until graduation, she needed the steady income. Her hair, she says, went to Locks of Love.

The operation was a success, and two weeks later Lupo was cleared to return to work. But when she walked back in the doors at Hooters sporting a quarter-inch buzz cut, she says, management didn't like what it saw.

"I tried to on the first day, but they pulled me aside and said, 'No,'" she says.

Lupo's suit claims that a regional manager for Hooters happened to be there that day and informed her that she had to wear a wig. Her usual manager eventually agreed, saying the decision to make her wear a wig had come from higher up the corporate food chain.

Lupo says she tried to borrow a friend's to wear but found it painful. She says when her regulars requested she remove the wig to show them her real hair, she was pulled aside and admonished.

"It prolonged all the healing. It put it at a greater risk," she says of wearing the wig for a shift lasting from 10 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon. "There was a risk of infection."

Lupo's suit says she finally declined to wear a wig.

Click through for a response from Hooters and a copy of the lawsuit.



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24 comments
Tammy Deal
Tammy Deal

Todd, then bald men should have to wear wigs when the come work in my house. I'll supply the wig no problem.

Tammy Deal
Tammy Deal

It's Hooter's, only good looking, big breasted, young, skinny girls allowed?? I thought, and maybe I was right.

Brian Wittling
Brian Wittling

Stay home and get better? I'm sorry, you must have us confused with some country that has health care.

Kevin Rudroff
Kevin Rudroff

It's hooters. Tons of girls were discriminated against to get the job. Get over it and just go somewhere else and get another job based on looks like a bartender instead of tryn to sue someone for easy money. Getn money based on looks is easy enough any how. And Mo isn't a right to starve state.

Andrew Eldridge
Andrew Eldridge

Its not about being beautiful its about appetizing, I'm sorry its not discrimination, its called you just had brain surgery and are battling cancer stay home and get better.

Lindsey Pandamonium
Lindsey Pandamonium

You are hired there based on your looks....what makes firing any different. Stop crying, go back to school, and get a REAL job where you don't have to rely on your looks babe. ;) Is this story really being covered a second time this week RFT?

Patrick Kelly
Patrick Kelly

John lets hope that MO never becomes a RTW state.

Terri Belangee
Terri Belangee

I have seen this before at other Hooters. Dennis

John Shetterly
John Shetterly

Missouri is not a RTW for less state Not yet!!!!!!!!!

John Shetterly
John Shetterly

Dear hooters if your girls had a union this wouldn't have happened

Lisa Batchev
Lisa Batchev

Don't think this is something she can sue for.. She quit .. Missouri is a right to work state, yeah they are jerks but there is an expectation of looks and such when you choose to work at place like that.

Daniel Knoll
Daniel Knoll

Brian, i think in the case of a life-threatening cancer scare, Hooter's could make an exception..but there is some validity to the point, that the women were mainly hired for their hooter-ish looks...so i guess i'll hate on the 'game', and not the so much the 'player'.

Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd

Hey idiots. She was hired for her looks. And if I'm correct Hooters has them sign a contract that's states if their looks change they can be terminated.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

"Sinead O'Connor was beautiful" put down the crack pipe, you've had enough.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

look, i feel for her...but it's hooters. image IS their business. you know that first day on the job.

Bambi Zj Baker
Bambi Zj Baker

They are clear about image standards but they never mention anything about image as a result of health problem. Poor girl stick it to em

Todd Williams
Todd Williams

Sad story and sad world we live in - and bad PR. BUT, Hooters has very clear and strict image policies (seriously - I've seen their employee handbook) and if they offered to pay for the wig I would think that would be a reasonable accommodation under ADA. They ask ALL employees to look a certain way so to me this isn't discrimination - it's an equal application of a policy...a dumb policy. Although a lawyer on here might know better than me.

Delisa Richardson
Delisa Richardson

SO stupid! They should have just settled this out of court. The bad publicity won't be good for them.

Kate Tabers
Kate Tabers

You mean Hooters discriminates against how a person looks? Please....tell me more. What they did to her is not right. This is something that was out of her control.

Daniel Knoll
Daniel Knoll

how dare she get cancer, wasn't that spelled out in her employment contact? Sinead O'Connor was beautiful when she was bald-the world of being human doesn't exist in a vacuum, even at hooters.

Roy Jacobs
Roy Jacobs

All this bad press for Hooters, if the manger and the area manger had just let her work none of this would be in the media.Now Hooters and these managers are looking pretty low.

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