Jennifer Rogers, 20, looked great on paper for a job at the Tilted Kilt, a sports bar in Palm Desert, Calif. She made it through the application process and did well in her interviews, but when she went to try on the restaurant's uniform, she encountered a problem.
"Because the skirt was a size too small, they said that I could not work there," Rogers told KESQ News. "I couldn't wear the uniform."
Rogers was denied a position at the Tilted Kilt based on a federal law that allows companies to deny employment to individuals that do not fit their brand image, according to KESQ. By hiring waiters and waitresses as entertainers instead of servers, restaurants are legally permitted to not hire applicants that don’t match the job's physical requirements. The Titled Kilt goes as far as calling the company uniform a “costume,” ABC News reports.
“Kilt Girls are the cornerstone of the Tilted Kilt brand,” Tilted Kilt’s corporate office stated in a release obtained by ABC News. “Tilted Kilt specifically hires females for the role of the Kilt Girl who fit our profile, which includes being attractive, intelligent and having outgoing personalities.
While hiring discrimination based on national origin, sex, religion, race and color is illegal under federal law, discrimination based on body type is not. Currently, six U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Calif. and Madison, Wisc., have laws that forbid discrimination based on weight, according to Reuters.
As America's waistline continues to get bigger, many job seekers like Rogers have protested weight discrimination in the workplace. In 2010, a 132 pound waitress at Hooters was put on a weight restriction and told to shed some pounds if she wanted to keep her job, the New York Daily News reported. In 2011, nine former cocktail waitresses at the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. said they were fired for being too old to wear the flapper inspired costumes required by the casino, 9 News reported.
Courtney Scaramella, 23, claimed she was fired for protesting her employer’s dress code, which forced waitresses to don a skimpy plaid skirt.
With the "breastaurant" industry experiencing a mini-boom, we can only expect similar lawsuits to keep coming up. Despite restaurant owners' claim that they have the right to base hiring decisions on looks, Rogers remains skeptical.
“Why should anyone have to look a certain way to work at a different place?” Rogers told ABC News. “It’s not fair.”