David Perkins left a successful career in the NFL after two head injuries. His doctors recommended for his safety, that he leave the sport if he wanted to live past the age of 30. David, not one who sits around without anything to do, decided to open a sports bar, The Wing Shack. After five years, the restaurant concept gained momentum and he was opening his fifth restaurant in the Michigan area. David is proud to be socially responsible while creating jobs in the community and feeding the homeless. If David is doing so well, he says in response to an unwarranted lawsuit, he shouldn’t be sitting in his attorney’s office spending money he could be using to help his community. David is being sued for discrimination by two waitresses from Roseville, Michigan: Mindy Simpson and Laura Walker. Simpson received positive performance evaluations and was promoted to shift supervisor within six months of being hired. In her last evaluation, Simpson, who is 5’8″, says she was advised by her manager to lose weight and join a gym. She was given 30 days to lose weight despite losing 13 pounds on her own after working on the job for two months. After the 30-day period expired and she did not lose the required weight, she was fired.
Walker, by contrast, is 4’10” and weighs 120 pounds says she was put on weight probation and then fired even though she lost 20 pounds.
David gives his attorney his side of the story, “I run a successful business and pride myself on hiring women who fit the image of a sports bar. I give guidelines on my website about hair, eyes, skin, makeup, and exercise. All of my female wait staff have to attend image classes and pass the exam. Employees are hired based on the image they have when they are hired.”
Please respond to the following questions and give your reason for each position you share:
- The women are suing because they are being fired for being too heavy. Is that illegal under state and federal law?
- David’s claim is that the woman were fired because the image of Wing Shack, which is central to his business, allows him to discipline and fire waitresses for not maintaining the image he wants to uphold. Is that claim accurate?
- Mindy further claims that since giving birth to her son, she has had problems maintaining her weight. In other words, having children changes a woman’s physique, making it more difficult to return to one’s pre-baby weight. Could she have a legal case on the basis of the Americans with Disability Act?