ARCHIE, Mo. — Too overweight to work? An Archie, Mo., woman said her potential employer thought so and sent her home from work.
Amber Smith admits at 5’0″ tall and 278 pounds, she’s heavy. But she said she’s a hard worker, as friendly as they come and she’s never let her weight get in the way. Unfortunately, she said a potential employer has.
“I will work my butt off,” Smith said. “You tell me to do something, I will try my hardest to do anything.”
Smith said she had no idea her number on the scale would mean a dead end when she applied for a job at Archie House Black Jack BBQ.
“It doesn’t matter what size you are,” she said, “if you’re willing to do the job, you should be able to get a job like that.”
Smith said Wednesday morning, a friend called and asked if she was still looking for work.
“I just wanted a job,” she said, explaining that she’s been without a job since September. “That’s all I wanted.”
A short time later she was training as a waitress at the BBQ joint. But less than an hour into her training shift, Smith says her friend pulled her aside, telling her management was sending her home because she was “too heavy.”
“What is so wrong with heavyset people?” Smith asked outside the restaurant on Thursday afternoon. “I mean, yeah, some people think they may not be attractive enough to work at a place like that, but it’s a restaurant.”
Smith said her friend gave Smith $8 out of her own pocket and apologized.
“I started crying because I could still do the job,” she said. “I can still do the work.”
Embarrassed, and forced to leave, Smith said she wanted to lie but a message from her husband changed her tune.
“I got a text message from my husband yesterday that said, ‘Don’t worry what other people say, you’re perfect to me,’” she said.
Now Smith is sharing her story so others get the same message.
“You’re better than this,” she said.
Missouri’s labor laws protect discrimination from disability, however, weight does not always fall under that category. An employee at Archie’s House said Smith was sent home because she wasn’t dressed properly. The employee then added that it was a high-demand job and they needed a person with a lot of energy and motivation. Smith said she was always up for that.