By Grant Bissell
ST. PETERS, Mo. (KSDK) - A former Hooters waitress says she was forced to quit after undergoing brain surgery. Now she's suing the chain for allegedly discriminating against her because of her appearance.
Sandra Lupo had worked at the Hooters restaurant in St. Peters since 2005. She had loyal customers, but doesn't feel like the restaurant chain was loyal to her.
Last July, doctors found a growth in Lupo's brain. Before the operation she had to shave her head and afterward she had a large scar and metal hinges in her skull.
Lupo says her bosses told her she could come back to work wearing a head wrap. But she claims on her first day back she was told she'd have to wear a wig or give up her shift to another server.
She tried the wig but found it wasn't letting her scar heal and made her prone to infection. And when she stopped wearing the wig Lupo says she was reprimanded and noticed her hours were being cut.
"They eventually scheduled me one day a week," said Lupo. "And then I tried to pick up extra shifts and when I did they pulled me into the office and disciplined me again, basically telling me that I shouldn't be doing that."
Lupo says she eventually quit because she couldn't support herself, but she feels she was forced out by Hooters. She's since filed a discrimination lawsuit, which Hooters is fighting.
Hooters corporate office responded to NewsChannel 5's questions about this case with a statement that reads:
"Hooters of America believes the lawsuit is without foundation, denies the accusations and has filed a motion that the lawsuit be dismissed.
"Hooters of America never cut Sandra Lupo's hours. We wanted her to stay. It's unfortunate she chose to leave rather than working through this issue."
Lupo was working at Hooters to help pay her way through nursing school. Since leaving the restaurant she has graduated and is now a full-time nurse.