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Is it legal for Hooters to only hire female waitresses?

Sex-based discrimination happens to men, women and transsexual employees alike. It can even happen while employers are seeking to hire a new employee. There have been many arguments about sex discrimination over the years and whether employers have the right to engage in it during hiring. Barring certain exceptions like Hooters, the employees who were discriminated against prevailed. So, why is Hooters able to get away with it?

Hooters dogged adherence to an all-female wait staff model continues even though the Civil Rights Act of 1964 clearly states that discriminatory hiring — or choosing people of one sex over the other for a particular job — is unlawful. Hooters has successfully defended its ability to only employ female wait staff. Regardless what you happen to personally think about this practice, the restaurant giant has proved its legal acumen by retraining its female-only policy in spite of the Civil Rights Act.

The most notable challenge to the all-female wait staff policy involved several men who sued the restaurant in 1997 after the restaurant turned them down for waiter jobs. The restaurant ultimately settled the lawsuit by paying the men a $3.75 million settlement and by creating new gender-neutral positions that men could fill at its restaurant.

Hooters maintains that it’s on the right side of the law by claiming “bona fide occupational qualification” based on the essence of its business model. Hooters states that the “Hooters Girl” is the foundation of its business. In this respect, its “Hooter’s Girls” are entertainers and, since acting troops can discriminate between the sexes when casting roles, Hooters can too.

The idea of sex discrimination in hiring is a touchy one and subject to a lot of debate. If you feel you’ve been discriminated against unfairly, don’t concern yourself with the opinions of others — especially not the opinions of the organization that denied you a job. Concern yourself only with the law and the legal protections it provides.

Source: Business Insider, “Hooters is hiring male servers at its new restaurant — but there’s one huge catch,” Kate Taylor, accessed May 03, 2018

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