Farryn Johnson, a former Hooters waitress, has been awarded more than $250,000 after an arbitrator found that racial discrimination contributed to her getting fired.
Johnson clamed she was fired from her Baltimore restaurant job in August 2013 because "Hooters prohibits African-American Hooters Girls from wearing blond highlights in their hair."
According to the lawsuit, while other women were allowed to highlight their hair, the restaurant manager told Johnson she couldn't be at work with blond streaks because it didn't look "natural" on African-Americans.
"The manager at the time literally said, 'You can't have blond because black people don't have blond hair,'" Johnson, who had worked at the restaurant for about a year, told NBC affiliate WBAL-TV in Baltimore.
Johnson said her shifts were slashed and she received written warnings about her hair, and then ultimately, she was fired.
"I was shocked. I couldn't believe it," she said.
Arbitrator Edmund D. Cooke Jr. wrote that Hooters violated state and federal civil rights laws and that the hair policy "was implemented in a discriminatory manner adversely affecting African-American women."
Hooters criticized the ruling in a lengthy statement on its website, claiming the restaurant never told Johnson she couldn't wear her hair a certain way.
"Nothing could be further from the truth," the statement said, calling the arbitrator's decision "flawed."