Friday, March 10, 2006
Although the Hooters restaurant chain is mostly known for providing vicarious sexual entertainment to its customers (and sometimes also serving mediocre food), it has now found itself in the spotlight for a completely different reason: the EEOC has filed a lawsuit against it for its alleged treatment of a former employee who has multiple sclerosis.
According to the story in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle:
The EEOC said Hooters of America Inc. refused to reduce the schedule of waitress Melissa Vicari when she was diagnosed with MS in 2003, despite several requests from her neurologist.
The complaint, filed by the EEOC in U.S. District Court in Rochester, alleges that though Vicari requested shorter shifts because of her illness, the restaurant initially denied the requests and gave similar shifts to other workers. When the restaurant did let Vicari work shorter shifts, it limited the number of shifts she worked, the suit alleges.
"In this case, Ms. Vicari was asking for nothing more than that given other Hooters Girls without disabilities," said Elizabeth Grossman, the EEOC's New York District regional attorney. "This company needs to give a hoot about fairness to its workers."
In a statement, Hooters said it would fight the suit. The company "made every reasonable accommodation possible for the employee," the statement said.
Sounds like a worthwhile and meritorious suit if the allegations are true, but did the EEOC's attorney actually make an owl reference (like "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute") in her statement about Hooters?