As per discussion at Is it legal to let people search for professionals by gender?, it was mentioned that customer satisfaction and preferences alone do not justify a Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications defence to a discrimination claim. Diaz v. Pan Am. World Airways, Inc. and Wilson v. Southwest Airlines Co..

It's also been mentioned that Hooters BFOQ defence has never went to trial, always going for settlement.

Doesn't it imply that anyone can just apply to be a waiter at Hooters, and upon being turned down for obvious reasons (of not being a Hooters Girl), seek a "free" settlement?

  • Is there any evidence that those settlements are profitable? I assume that like all settlements they're covered by confidentiality provisions, but if they were profitable presumably friends or relatives of parties to such settlements might be nudged to such behavior if Hooters had an attractive settlement policy.
    – feetwet
    Oct 12, 2015 at 14:32

1 Answer 1


Hooters's BFOQ-related legal history (from Wikipedia/Hooters):

  • 1997: Three men from the Chicago area received $19,100. Four men from Maryland received $10,350. This was related to the often cited $3.75 million settlement that required the "creation of gender neutral positions for bartenders and hosts".
  • 2009: Confidential settlement between a Texas man and an individual Hooters franchise

Given relatively small amount (ten to twenty thousand dollars) that the individuals walked away with in the 1997 settlement, and the upfront costs associated with a law suit that Hooters can drag out until they decide to reveal their intention to settle, it isn't obvious that this route is profitable from a money or time perspective for individual plaintiffs.

  • 1
    There is the huge risk that they might hire you, and I think they have a dress code that applies to all "hooter's girls" :-)
    – gnasher729
    Oct 14, 2015 at 19:13
  • What is BFOQ? - Dec 20, 2023 at 21:06

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