Meagan Hunter, a woman from Arizona and former server at Chili’s Grill & Bar, claimed the company failed to promote her to a higher-paying post because she did not dress “gender appropriate.”
Miss Hunter, 35, said she waited tables at Chili’s located in Phoenix, from 2016 to 2018.
About one year ago, she took her chances and told her employer she was interested in two positions they had opened -- bartender and manager.
Hunter, the mom of a young boy, took part in a standard interview for the manager role where she was dressed in a buttoned-down shirt and slacks.
After the interview, the general manager had the following to say to Hunter about her attire: “He told me the district operator said my clothes were baggy and I was inappropriately dressed for an interview.”
A few weeks later, Hunter’s boss had another conversation with her where she learned this: “They want to offer you the job, but they’re really concerned about what you’re going to wear.”
Hunter, who detailed her experience in the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, said her boss requested that she had to look “gender appropriate.”
She confessed: “I said, ‘Does that mean I should have my breasts hanging out to succeed in your company?’ and he backtracked and said, ‘No, not in those words,'” I asked why I couldn’t wear an outfit like his, and he said, ‘That’s for boys.'”
The ACLU and Hunter have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
A Chili’s spokesperson responded to story by saying: “Meagan Hunter was not denied a promotion at Chili’s, but instead she was identified as a high potential Team Member and offered the opportunity to be promoted into our Certified Shift Leader program to take the next step on her career journey. Feedback was given to her about our manager dress code guidelines, which apply to all managers regardless of gender identification or sexuality, but absolutely no mention was made of any need to conform to gender-specific clothing."
Did Chili's handle this situation inappropriately?