Hooter's worker speaking (l) Hooter's building with signs (c) Hooter's worker speaking (r)

Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock @leah_fennelly/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘You’re not a waitress, you’re an entertainer’: Hooters server says they can get fired if they gain weight, change appearance

‘You have to fit a certain look, and if you don’t fit that look anymore, you’re out.’


Braden Bjella


A Hooters server and TikTok user’s clip has gone viral and sparked discussion after claiming that one can be fired from the server position if they gain weight.

In a video with over 728,000 views as of Friday, TikTok user Leah Fennelly (@leah_fennelly) says, “If you get fat, or your appearance changes from the day that you were hired, you can be fired—and you cannot come back and be like, ‘Oh, you fired me because I got fat.’ Babe, it was in the rules.”

@leah_fennelly FAQ – can you be fired? #hooters #employment #lawstudent #lawschool #hootersgirl #fyp #employmentlaw ♬ original sound – Leah Fennelly

Fennelly continues by claiming that your appearance on the day that you were hired becomes your standard look going forward, and any deviation from that look could be grounds for termination.

“What they do when you get hired is they take a picture of you and how you look, and you do annual reviews, and if you got too far off-base from how you looked when you got hired, they are totally allowed to fire you—because you’re not a waitress, you’re an entertainer,” she explains. “You have to fit a certain look, and if you don’t fit that look anymore, you’re out.”

Fennelly notes that this does not only apply to weight gain.

“If you cut your hair, or you shave your head, or you dye your hair purple, or literally anything like that — like, drastic — that’s totally within their rights to fire you,” she concludes.

Fennelly is not the first to make this accusation. In March 2022, a TikTok user claimed that one of their co-workers was fired for dying their hair red and refusing to dye it back. Another TikTok user also made a similar allegation as Fennelly, saying in her video that “You’re hired as a model, so if you were ever to get fat or stop taking care of yourself, they can fire you.”

Hooters is within their rights to do this—in fact, most businesses in the United States can legally fire an employee for being overweight.

“Federal antidiscrimination laws protect employees from being fired based on certain characteristics, such as race, gender, age, religion, or disability,” details Attorney Sachi Clements for Nolo. “However, weight is not a protected characteristic under federal law. Right or wrong, this means that employers can legally fire or take other negative actions against employees for being overweight.”

That said, the site shows that there are several cities where this is not legally allowed, and incentives offered by an employer for health-related reasons could be a violation of the Affordable Care Act and the ADA.

In the comments section, many users spoke about the veracity of Fennelly’s claim.

“No this is real I worked there for 2 years,” a user stated.

“In the early 90’s we had to fit in an XS uniform in order to work there. If anyone became a Small they had to hostess or leave until they fit XS,” another recalled.

“Lol when I worked at hooters 10 yrs ago they had a menu that we were allowed to eat from,” claimed a third. “Only the healthy items.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Hooters and Fennelly via email.

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