Covert Size Discrimination on the Job

Over the last few months I have watched as a new restaurant/bar was being built in one of the local malls near my home, all while hoping that I would be able to secure a job at the location. The business being built is Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill, and the problem that I found when I went in this morning to apply to work at this location was the uniform that was offered for their female employees was the slutty version of a hooters’ uniform.

The first reaction I had was about how uncomfortable I would feel to wear the daisy duke shorts and skimpy tank top that was offered, not even thinking that the cowboy boots that was the uniforms required footwear would be near to impossible to fit my calves. When asking if there was an option to wear jeans instead of the small shorts, the answer was what I feared, ‘Absolutely not.’

This brings a real issue to mind. Sure they have an atmosphere that they are trying to create but at what cost? To refuse to accommodate good employees due to their size or comfort level being challenged is wrong. Aside from the fact that I truly believe that businesses that create uniforms with this kind of look is for one purpose, to keep someone that wouldn’t look or fit into it out of it.

While I was there, after filling out the application and turning it in, I requested to see what the guys had to wear. I hoped that they would just have to wear a cowboy hat and jeans in hopes of keeping up with the objectification that they seem to have going, but of course the guys get to wear the normal uniform of jeans and a t-shirt.

This isn’t the first time I have found my size limiting me on where I can work and what jobs employers feel I am acceptable to perform. My last long term employer kept me as a floor server even though everyone else I opened the restaurant with moved up to be bartenders or left because they were insane. They consistently told me that they couldn’t afford to lose me on the floor but the truth was that I didn’t fit what they wanted the look behind the bar to be.

Another job, where their bartender uniforms were dirty school girl outfits, laid me off this summer along with anyone else who was slightly overweight citing they were overstaffed while training new people.

Working in an industry where looks means just as much as skill can leave you feeling as though you are missing something. But without people speaking up about how businesses use subtle ways to make sure people look the part by discriminating against those who don’t, I really don’t think much will change.