By CBS Baltimore, baltimore.cbslocal.com

The popular restaurant chain Hooters is accused of racial discrimination by a former employee in Baltimore. And it all centers around her hair. (. . .)Hooters

Farryn Johnson’s blonde highlights are now at the center of a complaint filed with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights. “My other co-workers, they all had different colors in their hair, like red and blonde highlights. I didn’t think it would be an issue,” she said. (. . .)

Johnson, 25, was fired from her job as a waitress at Baltimore’s Harborplace Hooters in August after she was told by managers her hair color violated employee image standards.imgres-7

“They gave me write-ups and they told me I need to take the color out of my hair. And they said I couldn’t have blonde in my hair because I’m black. They specifically said, ‘Black women don’t have blonde in their hair, so you need to take it out,’” said Johnson. (. . .)

“What’s wrong is that both federal and state law clearly say employers can’t impose two separate and distinct rules governing employee standards–one for African-American employees and one for everyone else. And that’s clearly what Hooters did here,” said attorney Weber, Brown Goldstein Levy. (. . .)

Delegate Washington agrees. Employers need to be able to define personal appearance and grooming standards, but she’s already drafting legislation that would prevent employers from requiring or prohibiting specific hairstyles.

She says Farryn Johnson is just one of many examples. (. . .)Hooters-1

Hooters of America declined to comment, citing the pending litigation. The case is now in the hands of the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, whose investigation could take months.

Washington expects her bill to be pre-filed for the next legislative session in Annapolis.

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