Farryn Johnson, 25, has filed a complaint with the Maryland Commission of Civil Rights, The Baltimore Sun reported. She said she was warned about the highlights in June and then dismissed in August when she failed to remove them.
Supervisors told her the highlights were "not natural" because of her race when she said other women working at the restaurant in the Inner Harbor area had dyed hair, Johnson said. Those included an Asian-American woman with a bright red dye job and a white woman with platinum blond highlights in her black hair.
Her lawyer, Jessica Weber, said Johnson wants back pay and a change in Hooters policy.
The Baltimore restaurant referred questions to the home office, the Sun said.
Rebecca Sinclair, the chief human resources officer for Hooters of America, said the chain embraces its "culturally diverse" workforce.
"When you're representing an iconic brand there are standards to follow. Hooters Girls are required to be camera-ready at all times to promote the glamorous, wholesome look for which Hooters is known," she said. "Hooters adamantly denies that it has different policies and standards for hair based on race."