Apr 10, 2013 11:53 AM EDT

Former Waitress Sues Hooters For Brain-Surgery Related Job Loss

A former Hooters waitress has sued the restaurant chain in federal court, alleging she was forced out of her job after undergoing brain surgery which left her with buzz cut hair.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Sandro Lupo claimed that she initially was told she could return to work with buzz-cut hair and a healing scar. Lupo says she was cleared to return to work last July, only for her manager to say she had to don a wig during her shifts.

Lupo had the support of her manager, who visited her in the hospital and suggested when she was ready to return to work that she wear a "chemo cap" or jewelry items "to distract from her lack of hair and the visibility of her cranial scar," court documents said.

Lupo replied that "she did not have a wig and that she could not afford a wig, as they range in cost between several hundred and several thousands of dollars."

Lupo, who had been working at the Hooters of St. Peters, Mo., since 2005, was in her last six weeks of nursing school and was at her computer in June 2012 when she felt tingling and numbness on her left side. "I was bleeding out in my brain," she told NBCNews.com.

When she did return to work July 21, wigless, she was told a wig was required. She then borrowed a wig but it "caused extreme stress to her body because of the surgery and the healing wound," according to the suit.

Hooters then reduced her hours "to the point that Plaintiff could not earn an income, thereby forcing Plaintiff to quit," according to the suit. "It is and has been the routine custom, policy and practice of Defendants to reduce their employees' hours which forces them to voluntarily resign thereby making them ineligible for unemployment compensation."

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