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Richard Bernstein is no stranger to tough situations. As someone who is visually impaired, he’s had to face numerous challenges in life–challenges that might make...
By Aaron Foley
June 2, 2010
Hooters, the chain of wing restaurants under fire for allegedly putting one of its waitresses on "weight probation," said those claims were untrue -- but did say that image is a large part of hiring its employees.
20-year-old Cassie Smith says a Hooters restaurant in Roseville, where she had been employed for two years, forced her to lose weight to fit into the Hooters Girl uniform. She has since filed suit against the company.
Mike McNeil, Vice President of Hooters marketing, spoke at the Roseville restaurant this morning about the lawsuit, saying that Smith's representation -- the Law Offices of Sam Bernstein -- aren't "corporate lawyers" who are versed to handle a case like this.
"We want the people to know that the accusations that have drawn out are not true," McNeil said. "We don't feel like we're asking anyone to do anything that's unhealthy, and we don't think that we're asking anyone to do anything that's unfair."
When asked about Smith's employee evaluation, where the woman says she was asked to lose weight, McNeil said all employee matters are "private and confidential."
But, he said, "you're hired based on the image you have when you walk through the door," and Hooters does ask its waitresses to live healthy and consider personal fitness.
"We very easily could have said small, medium or large...but there's no collaboration between our sizes and those you can find in a department store," McNeil said about the chain's controversial uniforms, which includes sizes of extra small and extra-extra small.
McNeil added that television footage of the Roseville locations manager aren't necessary for media coverage. MLive commenters in particular pointed out that he was not in the best of shape.
"For the record, the image of a Hooters manager is not critical to our success. They're not on TV shows," he said. "People don't come into the Hooters to take pictures with our managers."
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