Black Waitress Claims She Was Fired Over Highlights

The 25-year-old claims she was dismissed from a Hooters in Baltimore over her blond streaks even though other workers had them.

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Rihanna, with one of her many different highlighted hair looks, at the 2010 Grammy Awards. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

And once again black hair is in the news -- this time the story is about blond highlights.

When 25-year-old Farryn Johnson of Baltimore decided to put blond streaks in her hair, she didn't think it would be a big deal. After all, working at Hooters, she had seen many women show up at work with different hair colors, with no apparent disapproval from management.

However, as it turns out, Johnson was not so lucky. After being warned to change her hair color,  she found herself without a job because of  an "improper image." She told ABC2 News that between balancing school with work, she couldn't afford to change her hair back.

"I didn't see that it would be a big issue, just because there were a lot of other employees working at the restaurant of other races with color in their hair," Johnson told the news station. "For instance, there were Asian girls with red hair and Caucasian girls with black hair and blond streaks, so I didn't think it would be an issue for the little piece of blond highlight in my hair."

That pushed her to file a charge of discrimination, believing it to be an issue only because of her race.

It wasn't the first time that Johnson reportedly noticed disparaties in management's stance on black hair. "I actually started noticing there was an issue when other African-American employees ... tried to come in to work wearing their hair curly, and they would get in trouble by management, and they would tell them, 'You can't come back to work unless you straighten out your hair,' " she said, according to ABC2.

"The law is clear that employers can't have two separate unequal sets of rules -- one for African-Americans employees and one for everybody else -- and yet that's exactly what Hooters did here in firing Miss Johnson, an African-American employee, solely because she's African-American," Johnson's attorney, Jessie Weber told the news station. "They targeted her because of her hair solely because of her race."

Read more at ABC2 News.

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