Former Missouri Hooters girl says she was forced out of job after brain surgery

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - A former Hooters waitress says she was forced out of her job after brain surgery left her with short hair and a scar.

Sandra Lupo says the restaurant chain lied to her and now she's suing the company for discrimination.

"It was July of last year [2012]," Lupo said.  "I ended up having numbness and tingling on the left side of my body and I ended up going into the emergency department."

Doctors found a non-cancerous growth in her brain that had to be removed.

Lupo had to shave her head before the operation and was left with a scar and permanent metal hinges in her skull.

After the operation, Lupo said her manager visited her in the hospital and said she was welcome to come back to work as soon as she was ready.

But Lupo then said on her first day back, she was pulled into the office.

"They said 'You need to find a wig and if you don't by your next shift, then we need to know so we can get it covered by another girl,' " Lupo claimed.

She reluctantly agreed, but then realized the wig wouldn't work.

"It was impairing my healing process on my scar and it also makes you more prone to any kind of infection," Lupo explained.

She said she then came back to work without the wig and was reprimanded.

Then she said her hours were being cut, and said she had to beg for shifts.

Soon after that, she said she was scheduled for just one day a week and had to quit because she wasn't earning enough money to support herself.

She claims she was pushed out by Hooters; a discrimination lawsuit has made its way to the federal court.

Hooters is fighting the lawsuit, but Lupo says she refuses to give up.

"I'm not going to back down and hopefully I get justice," she said.  "That's why I went to the justice system."

Hooters provided a statement: "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."